Cheeseburger Gothic

Transit Day.

Posted February 6, 2009 by John Birmingham
Spent most of yesterday traveling after a rushed start before sun up. Got to the airport too late to do my upgrade trick so got to have the economy class experience on American Airlines. A pity I didn't swap the United and AA upgrade/econ thing around because AA's business class looked fine, whereas United, as someone pointed out, looked like a Greyhound bus.

Anyway, I sat next to Marcie, soon to be retired New York realtor, who was very pleasant in that chatty American way, and I watched another five episodes of 24 (series one) on the 'pod.

Didn't eat or drink on the plane, so got into NYC very hungry, having had only an apple and banana at SD airport. Random had sent a limo to pick me up, which was much appreciated as it was way below freezing and coming on for peak hour. There was a welcoming fruit and cheese basket and a bottle of Oregon pinot waiting in my room, for which I was pathetically grateful.

CraigWA, who'd arrived an hour or so earlier, texted me and we organised to have a quick dinner. He was on London time so it was about 1Am on his body clock. Had the scarifying experience of stepping out into the night time freeze and we quickly settled on a nearby restaurant where Craig had a beer (bwaaaahahahahahahaha!) and some sort of meat loafy thing. I went for what I thought was a meat ball and salad sandwhich , but which was really an experiment in stress testing a garbage bin lid sized plate by overloading it with staggering tonnages of fries, fist sized lumps of meat, a few leaves of wilted lettuce, and a gallon of melted cheese.

I think I ate about 15% of the meal and still felt bloated.

Back to the hotel for some arsing about trying to get a net connection, filed a Geek, watched another ep of 24, then off to sleepy bo bo land.

Tomorrow I have meetings, and Murph arrives in town.

31 Responses to ‘Transit Day.’

Lobes puts forth...

Posted February 6, 2009
So if Craig is on Perth/London/New York Time and you're on Brisbane/San Fran/New York time. Then between you you've been through more time zones than the USS Hillary Clinton (zing!)

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gtrof would have you know...

Posted February 7, 2009
Glad you made it to NYC with no trouble Birmo. Next time your in the states you need to stop by the Second City, Chicago.

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jennicki has opinions thus...

Posted February 7, 2009
Wow you're really getting the American Experience full throtte--freezing cold temps and ginormous servings. Restaurants and movie theaters should really just be honest about their serving sizes--

"Would you like a bucket of popcorn or, for $1 more, you can upgrade to a trough?"

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lostatlunch is gonna tell you...

Posted February 7, 2009
everyone's your friend in new york city,

relax and go with the flow,

explain you are a tourist and ask a local to show you around.

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Matthew K puts forth...

Posted February 7, 2009
Is the "cheese" that is allegedly poured over everything in America really as bad as Jeremy Clarkson says?

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Paul Nicholas Boylan reckons...

Posted February 7, 2009
John, a real man could have finished that meal.

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Lobes has opinions thus...

Posted February 7, 2009
Beware of the NYC wallet inspectors

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John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted February 7, 2009
Yes, poured cheese. I don't think I even need to answer.

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BrianC reckons...

Posted February 7, 2009
Hmmmm cold weather... its 39c here in canberra JB and believe it or not its only 30 in brisy. Enjoy the cold while you can, cause the sky is falling... well melting.

Id love a good cold snap right about now.

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Abe ducks in to say...

Posted February 7, 2009
Eeeew cheese that you pour! No wonder the cheese platter doesn't happen in the US - it would flow off the end of the tray.

You need to find the Brazilian quarter. It's somewhere between 46th and 49th and maybe only a block or two from Broadway. So maybe 5th or 6th? Or would it be 8th/9th? Anyway ask a local.

I've said it before, but you need to try the Feijoada.

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Matthew K mutters...

Posted February 7, 2009
Nigh on 40c down there I hear, I can't think straight at that temp. Not a problem though as it's all over slushy snow outside.

Is that squeezy "cheese" cheese whizz? I looked at a bottle in the american deli and it didn't seem to have cheese in the list of ingredients at all! WTF?

I bought Skippy peanut butter instead. (Is it made by or from Skippy?)

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sibeen mutters...

Posted February 7, 2009
A lovely and invigorating 45.5 degrees in Essendon at the moment. At this temperature all cheese is of the poured variety.

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Lobes asserts...

Posted February 7, 2009
45 degrees in Melbourne and climbing. I just did a 15 km paddle from St Kilda to Sandringham. Pretty toasty out there.

Can someone pour me a glass of cheddar?

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puma has opinions thus...

Posted February 7, 2009
cheese poured on things?...strange. Never seen it..or heard of it.

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Sweet Jane Says ducks in to say...

Posted February 7, 2009
Don't eat. Avoid all places that use cheese, and return to your country that prefers blocks of yeast infection. Australia isn't exactly known for its cuisine or tolerance.

J.

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BrianC would have you know...

Posted February 7, 2009
SJS said

"Australia isn’t exactly known for its cuisine or tolerance."

I know im going to regret this, but what pray tell SJS is Australia known for?

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sibeen would have you know...

Posted February 7, 2009
"I know im going to regret this,"

Oh, no, no, no, Brian. I expect we'll all come to regret it :)

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Matthew K ducks in to say...

Posted February 7, 2009
Don't dis the vegemite yo.

45.4c in Essendon! Not in our Essendon it isn't.

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Brian mumbles...

Posted February 7, 2009
Reading a Melbourne thread asking what things melted. So far clothes pegs and washing baskets are up there.

Wooden front door panel cracked in my place.

Watched a few roads start to get tacky. ie transports leaving ruts in bitumen surfaces.

Queensland is starting to look like a nice temperate place to go to.

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JKBrooks85 asserts...

Posted February 7, 2009
Out of curiosity, are there any Alaska book-signing stops planned? Just wrapped up reading WW and loved the Begich cameo. I imagine it's too much to hope for but figured I'd ask.

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CraigWA mutters...

Posted February 7, 2009
At least the Mexican place we went for dinner last night had something that resembled real beer. I presume it was from Mexico.

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savo swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 7, 2009
Geez freezing weather NY. 14 dead poss. up to 40 in Victoria in the bush fires down there. Tragedy.

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yankeedog reckons...

Posted February 7, 2009
"Got to the airport too late to do my upgrade trick so got to have the economy class experience on American Airlines"

Well, lucky you!

You wacky Australian types-insist on traveling in your summer-which ain't summer up here! Much like you guys like to tease us Yanks with Dropbears, we like to tell you folks 'Come on up! You can handle this-it's a dry kind of cold'!

And good luck on finding 'light' fare for meals here.

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Matthew K puts forth...

Posted February 7, 2009
Actually that "dry kind of cold" looks pretty appealing here where it barely gets below freezing, so sleet falls from the sky and now slush covers the land.

The dry cold is actually warmer.

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Sweet Jane Says reckons...

Posted February 8, 2009
http://www.hreoc.gov.au / about / media / speeches / sex_discrim / women_and_racism_forum.html

Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Website

Dec 1, 2001 ... In addition, racism and sexism do not affect all women equally or in the same way. .... predisposes them to high unemployment and hazardous employment; .... Work out your rights. Voices of Australia - Education module ...

New York has Ethiopian, Thai, Vietnamese, Mongolian, Turkish, Indian, Japanese, Chinese, and countless other foods that do not use cheese or use very little cheese. That's the funny thing about the US. We have choice and freedom.

J.

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John Birmingham mutters...

Posted February 8, 2009
Sorry, JK, not this tour.

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John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted February 8, 2009
Does anyone have any idea what she's talking about?

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Matthew K has opinions thus...

Posted February 8, 2009
Uh uh. Back to irrelevant randomness.

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Lobes would have you know...

Posted February 8, 2009
The freedom to not eat cheese. Apparently its the difference between Australians and Americans.

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Monster Yuppy is gonna tell you...

Posted February 8, 2009
SJS: I think the Scots may have taken the lead on the American/Anglo cheese freedom issue.

Of course, that well known American/Australian/Scotsman Mel Gibson had the right answer for cheese freedom.

"You have come to fight as cheese men, and cheese men you are. What will you do with that cheddar? Will you fight? Aye, fight and you may die, run and you'll live. At least a while. And dying in your beds many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance, just one chance to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they'll never take our camembert! "

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BrianC ducks in to say...

Posted February 8, 2009
Ummm. Wow! Ok then i guess i did ask for... that what ever that was.

JB that link goes to human right commission australia and when you follow her drill downs it takes you to an article talking about enshrined racist-sexism in australia.

SJS australia by and large isnt a racist or sexist society, certainly not sexist, our women folk just wouldnt stand for that shit. We do have our share of blockheads. And while out rights arnt enshrined in some holy bill, they are written down in our constition and our laws.

The Australian of the Year this year was a black fella, the minister for my department is woman. Were not perfect but we are far from institutionaly racist.

Ok so i just deleted my further argurments here because it doesnt matter. You wont agree, you cant. You havent been to my Country. I have been to yours, i know where the balance of freedom lies. Besides this blog is about JB not you or me.

JB you lucky bastard. It going to be even hotter today. Im thinking of wasting $30 bucks and catching some back to back movies in the cinema.

BrianC

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Respond to 'Transit Day.'

Props to Madoc.

Posted February 5, 2009 by John Birmingham
Had a reasonabley large time in San Diego today. Large enough to make me wish I was staying a few days longer. Woulda been nice to get down the waterfront and check out the Midway, and some sailing ship that used to be a brothel.

But we're into the business end of the deal now, so Larry my minder shuttled me around the district today, signing copies. Then dropped me back at the hotel in time to check a few emails before Madoc very generously drove down from LA  to whisk me away to dinner across the water from the big fleet base. I had a very fine swordfish steak grilled in some sort of spicey SoCal herb mix with green beans.

Then it was off to Mysterious Galaxy for a chat and some signing. Another dip o' the propeller beanie to the Galaxy crew for indulging me in my odd anecdotal ays. I dont think they get a lot of writers explaining the critical importance of strip clubs and brothels to their early development.

A really pleasant development there was the presence of Bill, the USN chief you might remember from the old Cheeseburger whom I took to lunch at Char in Brisbane. He was off his ship and back home with his family and made the effort to come to the gig. Again, cheers.

Then back to SD proper with Madoc for a Blanton's bourbon and a tour of the gas lamp district before heads down here at the hotel.

Early flight tomorrow.

Did a first class upgrade this morning on United. It gave me pause. I think it was Monster Yuppy who said something like their first isn't far off Qantas' economy. He was right. I now have a perverse desire to experience an economy flight on a US domestic leg, just to see what it's like.

It can't be that bad. Right?

Anyway, again, many thanks to Madoc for a huge effort.

And now to New York.

42 Responses to ‘Props to Madoc.’

Monster Yuppy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 5, 2009
"I now have a perverse desire to experience an economy flight on a US domestic leg, just to see what it’s like."

Perverse is correct...Why not also consider poking yourself in the eye, or putting a hand on the hotplate?

It may seem like a good idea at the time....however....

Hope San Diego treats you well... It is one of my favourite spots in the USA.

Cheers

The Monster

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NBlob mumbles...

Posted February 5, 2009
Last time I was in NYC (Thanksgiving 01) it was jammed to the rafters with tourists and cheerleading teams & marching bands for Macy's parade.

Took me a while to work out all the "Colors" jackets I was seeing, but a jolly good time was had by all, except perhaps the locals who seem to wear the "Sh!t I just stepped in something" expression.

Keep your eye's peeled for the "No Radio" signs in delivery trucks & watch how you cross the road - don't do a Churchill & step in front of traffic.

NYC Bush tucker:

Street vendor bagels & hotdogs over rated.

Hole in the wall Pizza joints sell by the slice - good dough, but would it kill 'em to put on more than on topping?

Diner breakfasts are worth the DVT.

Pretzels good.

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DrYobbo mutters...

Posted February 5, 2009
“I now have a perverse desire to experience an economy flight on a US domestic leg, just to see what it’s like.”

Yes this does sound like an proto-attempt at self harm. Best your minders keep you away from sharp pointy things.

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Guru Bob ducks in to say...

Posted February 5, 2009
It is extremely perverse - you are lucky you ain't my size.

Also try to get something with chipotle in it...

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savo is gonna tell you...

Posted February 5, 2009
These updates are just so good. Wonderful you met up with Madoc. I'm off to read his entry.

Did an economy trip with wife and two kids in 95. Washington to SF via LA. 8 hours across the continent and the only thing severed, offered and delivered was one sample packet of stale peanuts for each child. But the whole flight was made memorably pleaseant purely by surviving the landing at San Fran. The kids enjoyed the roller coaster ride and it was, hmmm ... enlightening to see the runway approach through the side window.

Stick with the upgrades.

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Brian mutters...

Posted February 5, 2009
Don't bother going over to Madocs blog just yet - he hasn't updated since Pelosi proved she was numerically illiterate.

Tsk . . .had no idea Madoc was LA based. He'd best be careful. Conservative are rare on the West Coast.

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savo is gonna tell you...

Posted February 5, 2009
damn, can't post on Madoc's site.

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Lobes asserts...

Posted February 5, 2009
Madoc DROVE to meet you?? Does he not know what a huge CO2 footprint that will produce!! LA to San Diego and back has got to be worth at least 1.5 polar bears.

LoL, just kidding. Glad you guys had a good time. Besides, I'm sure Madoc drives a Hybrid ;)

Its 3am now in LA. I'm sure Madoc will have a post up soon.

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yankeedog mumbles...

Posted February 5, 2009
Never been to San Diego, but everything I've heard about it is good-nice climate, oceanfront, vibrant city. Must get to a Padres game sometime!

My advice: Enjoy California. The eastern half of the nation has been cold, even in Florida, where it rarely hits freezing.

As for flying economy class on a domestic flight-dunno. Fly a small plane from Brisbane to Perth. If you can do that without being too uncomfortable, then you can handle a cross-country flight here-it's about the same distance. Stick with your first class.

Remember-every flight from Australia to anywhere is long distance, so Qantas probably has their planes designed with that thought in mind.

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Matthew K asserts...

Posted February 5, 2009
What does "no radio" in NY trucks signify?

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jennicki ducks in to say...

Posted February 6, 2009
You had me at sailing brothel.

Then lost me at desire for a US economy flight.

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HAVOCK has opinions thus...

Posted February 6, 2009
mate its 1.39AM, just got home, dropped off squire Bedak at his digs in MelB for his stay. gotta say, sounds like ya having a blast, tea, drinks and two clubs later we had a wicked night out for the Melb Burgers and GBOB once again picked a wicked place..I'm off to bed

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Murphy mumbles...

Posted February 6, 2009
Well, for twenty bucks US you can get onboard the USS Intrepid in Manhattan, which is an Essex Class carrier.

I've not been on a plane since 1993 so I have absolutely no idea what to expect. I do know that on Midwest Air the seating is a bit better but then they do not have first class per se. You do get a warm chocolate chip cookie though with every flight. :)

Glad the hook up took place.

Respects,

Murph

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mutters...

Posted February 6, 2009
Maddoc and I are secretly on the California Tourism Board payroll.

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Damaso is gonna tell you...

Posted February 6, 2009
Please talk to the publisher about releasing WW for the Kindle. I would have brought it just a moment ago but it isn't available...

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Lobes swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 6, 2009
Link to Birmos appearance blurb at the New York comic con. He appears under the heading of Literary Guest

http://www.nycomiccon.com/app/homepage.cfm?moduleid=2920&appname=100453&submenuheader=1&campaignid=61424905&iUserCampaignID=48070306#Literary_Guest

caution: v large page

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Trevin Matlock puts forth...

Posted February 6, 2009
Dear Mr. Birmingham,

Very much enjoyed your talk last night in San Diego. Just started the book this morning. I like the book very much so far but found one of those things your editor should have sent you a note on. Page 21, 3rd para. I'm afraid there is no UCLA Berkeley campus. There is a UC campus in Berkeley and a UC campus in LA (and Santa Cruz, Davis, Riverside, San Diego, Irvine and so on).

Cheers,

Trevin

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Madoc puts forth...

Posted February 6, 2009
John,

Thanks! It was a pleasure to finally get to meat you in person. And I had fun carting you 'round America's Finest City(tm) - and yes, that is the official motto of the City of San Diego.

That sailing ship is the Star of India and it is "the world's oldest active ship." She's a iron hulled barque rigged tallship. Originally built in 1863 she was sold to some San Diegans in 1923 as a restoration project. The Great Depression, among other things, put paid to that idea and the ship languished for many a year. During that time it was used for storage, for a "floating hotel" and yes, even as a brothel as well. That last bit doesn't get much mention on the San Diego Maritime Museum's tours of the ship. Odd, that.

Paul, yeah I hear you to did an outstanding job of showing the Birmo around there in SF. Good on you!

As to my "carbon footprint" well... since the world is now facing a period of global _cooling_ you'd think more CO2 in the air would be a good thing! But then, as we all know that the whole "carbon dioxide causes global warming" is but a scam and a lie, the amount of CO2 my driving down generated is therefore irrlevant!

And no, I was NOT going to drive the likes of John Birmingham around America's Finest City(tm) in anything so pathetic as a "hybrid" car. No, he got driven around in my Ford Ranger pickup truck!

'Twas a pity I was spending too much time with my eyes on the road as I drove him 'round for John later told me he got reflexively terrified every time I took a right hand turn. Here in the States that means only that I was driving with traffic. Down there in Oz such a turn would've meant I was driving into oncoming traffic. Birmo handled it well though and his face didn't look to green nor his knuckles to white after each drive...

As to flying economy, John, heed the words of others here above - you be not missing a damn thing! Unless, of course, you're into that self-induced suffering thing. But you don't strike me as the hairshirt type.

Anyway, glad to meet you in person and I'm happy you enjoyed your time here!

Madoc

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Madoc mutters...

Posted February 6, 2009
Savo,

You gotta have an account on LiveJournal to post. This is due to there being to many wankers being, well, wankers. I figure if setting the posting requirements to "LJ members only" keeps such cowards at bay then it's worth it.

And Brian - I'm not a conservative. I just don't happen to be what passes for liberal these days.

Madoc

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mumbles...

Posted February 6, 2009
Madoc - Good news on carbon! In my heart, I knew that climate change stuff is a scam. Carbon-making is a family tradition that goes back many generations. All this talk about reducing our individual "carbon footprints" was threatening to cut me off from my most powerful connection to my cultural roots. Time to go make some carbon! Wahoo!

PS - the next time I'm in SD we gotta do lunch.

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Abe ducks in to say...

Posted February 6, 2009
Hehe

He said, "meat you."

Hehe

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Madoc is gonna tell you...

Posted February 6, 2009
Abe,

Well, we do a feed and it weren't no poffy vegie stuff! 'Twas meat it was! Real meat!

And besides, I'm still kinda bleary eyed this morning. I don't much fancy driving two and a half hours through Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego rush hour traffic, pulling a fine time with a distinguished personage, and then having to get up at O-Dark-Thirty the next morning to drive back through San Diego, Orange County, and Los Angeles rush hour traffic to get to work in the morning.

So, me wordsmithing skills be a mite bit off.

It was worth it though, to hear Birmo tell his "pointy headed" bit.

Madoc

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Brian mumbles...

Posted February 6, 2009
Argh. . .Madoc, from this far remove. It seems realists and pragmatics get dumped on the conservative side of the fence anyway. (shrug)

I'm glad you don't drive a 'noddy' car. Noddy Car - car driven by Enid Blyton character. Notionally similar to a 'clown' car. Prius with an inferiority complex.

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Leo euler has opinions thus...

Posted February 6, 2009
Have fun!

I actually was on United economy just yesterday...I was going to a funeral. It was weird, because my cousin happened to be on the same plane, but we didn't even know it!

I don't think a lot of people are flying at this time of year, so you'll probably have a lot of space on United. I did. It really wasn't bad at all.

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Patricia mutters...

Posted February 6, 2009
John- economy on United or Continental is akin to a Greyhound bus in Australia. A Greyhound bus in the U.S. is probably the worst way of travelling. If you feel like suffering, I would recommend the leg between Seattle and Dallas. 3 days long. Full of obese people who don't get a chance to wash. Lots of greasy diners in between.

Madoc-I think your new president begs to differ about the carbon dioxide thingy. You may want to talk to some scientists. After all, it ain't a religion....it's not a matter of belief.

But anyway...

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Therbs has opinions thus...

Posted February 6, 2009
Mmmmm Blanton's. Well done Madoc!

I did Buffalo - L.A. in economy on the old Peoples' Express. I'd been advised to get hammered first and collapse for the flight. Sound advice.

Upgrade, upgrade, upgrade.

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NBlob mutters...

Posted February 6, 2009
By Matt Keith, February 5, 2009 @ 10:43 pm "What does “no radio” in NY trucks signify"

I had to ask a local.

Apparantly it means "I have no car stereo, so it's not worth breaking into it."

Often seen in conjunction with 1 inch wide strap steel welded across windows - looks kinda Mad Max.

Private cars in NYC seemed pretty rare, ever desperate not to look like a tourista in times square I whipped out the camera, took a shot and put it away without much in the way of composing the shot or waiting for the moment. Of the visible vehicles 80% are yellow cabs, a couple of busses, some delivery vans, 2 town cars (Aka limos) and just 1 private car.

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Madoc mumbles...

Posted February 6, 2009
Patricia,

Well, given how so many of the CO2/Global Warming folk behave you'd be excused in thinking it their religion. As to Obama's "scientists" I don't expect it to be to much longer before he's back on TV telling the world he is once again wrong and has yet again "screwed up." This time, about the "climate crisis." What with the Sun cooling down, the southern hemisphere experiencing year after year of record cold winters, and the planet itself enduring _no_ global warming since 1998, it shan't be long before the enviro-whackos move on to other things to get hysterical about.

And as to the Blanton's, Birmo scored a fresh bottle there as well. Seems that bourbon isn't in high demand in San Dieg - or perhaps it is and they'd just gone through their last uncorked example - but John got his very own freshly openned right before our eyes bit of pouring. He had it on the rocks but with only a few rocks therein. Not quite pebbles but shading toward that end.

Me? Well, since I was driving and since I didn't want to deal with the outrage had I put the Birmo's life in any more danger than I already had simply by driving on the "wrong" side of the road for his sensitivities, I decided to stick to a glass of Coke. I would've prefered to show my savoir faire by having it neat but the barman was to quick for me and had the filled glass before me before I could say otherwise.

And in any event, we wound up walking back to his hotel as it was that close and he wanted to see at least some of San Diego's nightlife. But for some of the particular sounds and a few of the visuals, it wasn't to different from anywhere else's nightlife.

John may be tempted, when he's in LA next week, to make his own trek down to San Diego so he can take in "Bondi - The Australian bar and kitchen." We stumbled across it after we'd already finished our feed otherwise we might've wound up there so John could do his restaurant critic deconstruction of the place. He tells me the temptation is yet strong so perhaps he'll twist his LA Wrangler's arm a tad for a quick road trip south. We'll see.

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Matthew K is gonna tell you...

Posted February 6, 2009
Thanks Bob, now I know. I thought NY had the petty crime thing licked but that don't sound like it.

Testify Madoc! I too am of the almost religious zealotry which man made climate change is championed.

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Matthew K reckons...

Posted February 6, 2009
Erm. That should have read: I too am suspicious of...

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Bondiboy66 reckons...

Posted February 6, 2009
Good lord, a restaurant called 'Bondi -The Australian Bar and Grill'...I am VERY interested in a review of that joint. It has the potential to be horrifying.

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Rhino ducks in to say...

Posted February 6, 2009
Madoc - Thanks for squiring Birmo around ... I'm sure that the sheer mass of your libertarian purity removed, through sheer osmosis, some of the lib molecules that his body accumulated from the water in SF.

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damian puts forth...

Posted February 6, 2009
“Bondi - The Australian bar and kitchen.”

Why does that provoke a simmering premonition of culinary outrage, without knowing anything more than the name?

Anyhow, top show Madoc.

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NBlob mutters...

Posted February 6, 2009
Matt, it was 2001.

I believe pre Juliani "0 tolerance"

Seems like a lifetime ago.

Well it is my daughters life-time ago, but that's beside the point.

Looks like the Carbon debate continues.

[Not here or now Bob]

Ok, thankyou inner self censor.

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Madoc puts forth...

Posted February 6, 2009
Rhino,

'Twas the least I could do. I mean, I knew that if I was anywhere near San Diego whilst Birmo was in town and I somehow failed to show the lad a good time that he'd then write me into one of his tales as a minor character who dies a horribly, cowardly and pointless death. Hell, he might still do that anyway so I gotta watch myself here!

And as to the lib molecules percolating in John's bloodstream, well, I dunno. What the man had to say about his "pointy head" was, well, it was... disturbing. I shan't go into further details as there's some things which men just shouldn't talk about.

Really.

Madoc

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NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted February 6, 2009
shit, not 2001, it was 1991 that makes more sense.

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Brian has opinions thus...

Posted February 6, 2009
Err . . .Nowhere Bob? Heat or cold getting to you?

Madoc. 'Pointy head' was it? Well . . .guess you had to be there to catch the subtleties. John's molecules probably were in overdrive - metabolizing something.

(worrying thought) John's not getting to have one of his migraines again?

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Madoc would have you know...

Posted February 6, 2009
Brian,

If you wanna ask John about the point head bit then go ahead. Just don't tell me I told you to.

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Madoc reckons...

Posted February 6, 2009
Arrggghhh!

Just don't tell _HIM_ I told you to!

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NBlob asserts...

Posted February 6, 2009
Nah Brian, just a type A brain f*ckout.

Possibly with a dash of denial from the "I'm still young & hip" part of my brain.

The fact that I did it twice is just like a slice of fruit on the side or an dinky paper umbrella in the glass.

Embarassing.

Perhaps I can distract with more windswept & interesting tales.

Nope.

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Brian reckons...

Posted February 6, 2009
Madoc - you gotta take the green pills, the green pills.

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savo is gonna tell you...

Posted February 6, 2009
well, that was a lotta fun

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Respond to 'Props to Madoc.'

To work, to work.

Posted February 4, 2009 by John Birmingham
So far, apart from a couple of meetings, it's all been hookers and blow, metaphorically speakin'. A grand tour of the city with the Prof, some lone handed sight seeing for myself, an exploration of American bar culture on Superbowl Sunday.

Today though I start earning my keep for the publisher. I have another thousand words on Watchmen to file, then I'll squeeze in a quick lunch with the Tyger, who's rejigged his schedule and made a long trek to catch up with me a little earier, then my wrangler will wrangle me through a bunch of stores this afternoon to sign stock before I do my first appearance tonight at Borderlands.

Which reminds me. It's time for you to get to work too. Amazon is now open for WW bizness and ol' JB is looking for some eighty-eight star reviews.

78 Responses to ‘To work, to work.’

Matthew K swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 4, 2009
Would be happy to give review if I could find a copy here in the UK. Is it ever going to be on sale here or shall I just pay a premium + postage and order a US version via Amazon?

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Monster Yuppy mumbles...

Posted February 4, 2009
Can I use phrases like "rollicking adventure" ... "journey through destructive times".. "lively cast of characters"....finished up with "it is like a combination of War and Peace and the Muppet Pirate Movie" ???

Maybe not...

Hope the Seppos are treating you well.

Cheers

The Monster

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Timbook2 reckons...

Posted February 4, 2009
Sounds like you're enjoying at least some of your time here, JB. I picked up my copy of WW this morning at Borders. Lucky me too, as they only received three copies of your book for sale and I got one of them.

Love the cover art on the dusk jacket and I'm glad I waited for the hardcover edition. It looks big and meaty.

Looking forward to a great read, as usual. Have a pleasant and safe trip in my homeland.

Best,

T2

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Murphy is gonna tell you...

Posted February 4, 2009
FYI, Without Warning is here in my neck of the woods. Just got through looking it over.

That cover is pretty slick once you see it wrapped around the hardcover.

Respects,

S. F. Murphy

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John Birmingham mutters...

Posted February 4, 2009
Yeah, the cover is interesting isn't it. Don't how it'd go as a paperback, but it looks hefty in hardback.

T2 are you coming to dinner on Friday night? We'll need to book soon.

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Luke puts forth...

Posted February 4, 2009
Bar research? 'Birmingham's guide to good bars'?

Respond to this comment

Tarl would have you know...

Posted February 4, 2009
JB - Is it too late to get in on the dinner on Friday? I'm taking the train down from NH, I'd like to meet other 'burgers in the flesh.

Respond to this comment

John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted February 4, 2009
Too easy Tarl. You're on the list. I'll email you the details (assuming the email addy you left here was correct?)

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Timbook2 is gonna tell you...

Posted February 4, 2009
Sorry, JB, I'm out. Long story, thought you heard it by now though. You guys have fun in the Big Apple.

Respond to this comment

Murphy mutters...

Posted February 4, 2009
Tarl, welcome aboard.

T2, sorry to hear you won't be making it. Hope all is well. We'll hoist one for you on Friday as well as the Burgers elsewhere in the world.

Respects,

S. F. Murphy

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Therbs mumbles...

Posted February 4, 2009
Can't do an Amazon review - you have to buy something off them first and they don't stock whisky.

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Orin reckons...

Posted February 4, 2009
My review is up - so they publish them pretty quickly (only wrote it 3 hours ago)

Respond to this comment

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted February 4, 2009
You're fracking kidding me! That's an outrage.

Respond to this comment

NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted February 4, 2009
Me too boss, I tried to give Mr "fluff" a serve (all very nicely put & understated in my usual way) and unless you buy you don't get to comment. SWMBO's professional experience has caused me to be under strict instructions: buy nuffin on line.

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NBlob would have you know...

Posted February 4, 2009
Also, I told ya T2. The man pisses slushies he's THAT cool.

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Therbs would have you know...

Posted February 4, 2009
Orin - I tried to slip one in as a comment on yours but that didn't work either. And I'd actually put more than ten seconds thought into it. Oh well, back to being lazy man.

Respond to this comment

Brian puts forth...

Posted February 4, 2009
So Amazon is only interested in providing a feedback loop from people who buy from them? Rather than providing a feedback forum from everyone?

So much for the unfettered flow of information.

Having had computer problems for most of the morning - I thought it was the laptop 'glitching' on Amazon.

F.a.a.r O.u.t - - -

Respond to this comment

NBlob mumbles...

Posted February 4, 2009
Lets get back to the Hookers & Blow, much more interesting.

Perhaps we could start reviewing that?

Nah, Amazon probably won't like it either.

Unless you buy some.... Honey, can I have some cash?

Respond to this comment

Timbook2 ducks in to say...

Posted February 4, 2009
You called it, Bob. I should have known better. JB is cooler than my wife on our wedding anniversary. That's pretty damn cool too! LOL

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Rhino asserts...

Posted February 4, 2009
I kept my rampant narcissism in check for a moment and my NON-Rhino centric review has been submitted.

I reserve the right to submit another, more Rhino loving, review at a later date.

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Orin reckons...

Posted February 4, 2009
The reason that Amazon requires you to have a unique credit card associated with your account (I don't think you have to actually buy anything, though I'm a serial amazon offender) is to stem the tide of fake reviews - publicists creating a bunch of accounts to tell everyone how awesome a new book is. It used to be that anyone could post a review - so people would post lots of negative reviews of competing books while bumping up their own books with positive reviews (this was definitely a problem with IT books where you had several competing titles for a specific subject).

I'm surprised that Amazon hasn't gone as far as to only allow reviews of products which you've purchased from them.

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Trees reckons...

Posted February 4, 2009
Hey JB, I've been lurking on your various forums for a couple of years now after reading the Axis of Time trilogy. I've finally felt the need to decloak. I wanted to tell you I christened your new book last night. Not is some perverse sexual way, I skinned up a fatty boombatty upon it. I'm thoroughly enjoying it so far! (The book that is, not the spliff, I enjoyed that last night.) Keep up the good work!

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Rhino is gonna tell you...

Posted February 4, 2009
Wow ... my review is showing and it only took a few minutes to make it through the Amazon filter ... usually takes hours or days.

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Lobes puts forth...

Posted February 4, 2009
Can someone put up a link to the appropriate Amazon page please?

Respond to this comment

John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted February 4, 2009
Trees, you make me proud to be a book writing guy.

Keep up the good work.

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Therbs mutters...

Posted February 4, 2009
Lobes - http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_b_0_15?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=without+warning+john+birmingham&sprefix=without+warning

NBob - I wouldn't bother. The bloke runs a Marxist rule through most of what he reads, even flogging some militancy from Helen Keller.

Think Student Union rags of the 1970's.

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Monster Yuppy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 4, 2009
Hey JB.. have a couple of spare upgrades from a mate avail if you need em (No charge) .... Send me an email if I can help.

Cheers

The Monster

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Guru Bob would have you know...

Posted February 4, 2009
JB - I forgot to say that when you are in NYC make sure that you go to this bar http://www.hogsandheifers.com/

When I was in NY a couple of years ago and my friend left me there for the night, I think it was in the Meat Packers District and around the corner from the pub where Dylan Thomas died after sculling a bottle of scotch (or something like that)...

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Lobes is gonna tell you...

Posted February 4, 2009
Thanks Therbs. Some positively Glowing reviews there guys!

Guru I went to Hogs and Heifers when I was in NYC this time last year. It is a real bikie bar, though in the evenings it draws patrons from the neighbourhood. The decor is basic (to be charitable) but its got a pretty good vibe and pool tables too.

JB if you're in the Meatpacking district try and check out a restaurant called the Fatty Crab http://www.fattycrab.com Its cuisine is Malaysian fusion and I can thoroughly recommend

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Trashman swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 4, 2009
Got a copy of WW from my local bookstore in Edinburgh last week (God knows where he got it from). Started reading it yesterday and killed two thirds of it. What can I say - wow! I never thought you'd top the AoT JB, but this is much stronger stuff. Maybe because it's set in the present day it seems less 'alternate', more real and much, much scarier.

Definitely going to be finished today. It's going to be a looong day at work till I get back to it.

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sparty puts forth...

Posted February 4, 2009
Got one up in moderation is guess....Birmo are you doing any press to push the UK release?, everyone here (UK)is so obsessed with Obama etc it really could do alot of business

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Abe ducks in to say...

Posted February 4, 2009
Locked and loaded.

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sparty mumbles...

Posted February 4, 2009
The reviews are remarkably ocnsistant on what themes they pick up. Don't forget to post the on amazon.co.uk as well if you can.

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gtrof puts forth...

Posted February 4, 2009
Got my copy JB will post a review on Amazon as soon as I finish it. Which if I keep at the current rate will be the end of the week. Love what I've read so far. Hope you enjoy your trek through the good old US of A!

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Leo asserts...

Posted February 5, 2009
Just picked my copy as well. They had seven in at the local Chapters here in Montreal.

When I get through it, I will be sure to post on Amazon.ca. Just on a quick look through, I am disappointed you torched Montreal, and Toronto, and Ottawa (well, not so disappointed about that really). I look forward to a cracking read. Have a fun tour of the USA.

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tygertim would have you know...

Posted February 5, 2009
I don't get to read my copy until Patty's checked it out.... She really liked JB's Aussie accent.... Thank God, he's married already...

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Oldsinger mutters...

Posted February 5, 2009
Birmo

Zombie sightings in the great state of Illinois. Is a conincidence that you are stateside now and they appear? Check out this link if you happen to check your wi fi.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29017293/?GT1=43001

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Timbook2 has opinions thus...

Posted February 5, 2009
Tyger ~ you just touched on something there. I think it would be cool if JB would add a Utube or video link of some kind to this site where he intros himself to his fans and welcomes them to this site.

The Aussie accent is very unique and I have always enjoyed hearing it spoken. I would really like to have a voice to put together with JB's face. All of us here have read so many of his works, including his blogs and articles and having a voice to connect with it would make it a bit more personal.

Just my opinion, of course.

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Lobes is gonna tell you...

Posted February 5, 2009
Timbbok2 while I agree more video and audio would be cool, lets be careful to not go OTT and turn this into a multimedia site.

One of the things that first got me coming back to Cheeseburger Gothic is the ease of use. I was/am often reading and posting from dial up with very low bandwidth. The attraction of CB Gothic is that its mostly text with very few images or video and a simple easy to load site architecture. My concern if we started flooding it with videos etc that people in my position would just not be able to get into the site.

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Boscolamb swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 5, 2009
I wonder if its any coincidence that just as Birmo visits the USA under the guise of a book tour, that road work signs here in the midwest (Indiana specifically) have suddenly been reprogrammed to read: "Caution! Zombies Ahead!! Run For Cold Climates, The End Is Near!!!!"

In Texas, the signs now say: "Nazi Zombies In Area, Run!!!"

I don't believe in coincidence... I wonder if Barnesm might also be here?

Nah, what if a real zombie outbreak occurred? No one would believe it. We'd all be screwed then!

Good luck on your "book tour", Birmo!

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John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted February 5, 2009
Fatty crab sounds gr8!

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John Birmingham reckons...

Posted February 5, 2009
Don't fret. My people are all over this.

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BrianC reckons...

Posted February 5, 2009
So logged my review of without warning JB its not up yet but should be. Remember because i favourable reviewd your book, a percentage of the hovercrafts and bunnies now go to me.

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Guru Bob is gonna tell you...

Posted February 5, 2009
There was also a really awesome Cuban restaurnat somewhere nearby (Hogs and Hiefers) that was truly amazing. Live music, gorgeous ladies and fabulous food...

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Lobes has opinions thus...

Posted February 5, 2009
Guru it was probably Son Cubano?

Other places to check out in the Meatpackers include Pastis (french restaurant) and have a drink at the Gansevoort hotel rooftop bar. Very S&TC with prices to match unfortunately.

I wound up going to Finellis a few times (bar and restaurant) which is down in Greenwich Village (or maybe SoHo)

Respond to this comment

Guru Bob ducks in to say...

Posted February 5, 2009
Went to the rooftop bar - my friend was a gorgeous Korean artist who decided she would be my guide for the day around NY art galleries and sites and seemed to know all the best places to eat and drink. The rooftop bar was pretty swank with a great view of the Empire State, but overpriced drinks in plastic cups didn't impress me too much...

She said I had to finish up the night at Hogs and Heifers and left me there - I left several hours later after an interesting glimpse into American culture...

Walked back to Greenwich Village where I was staying - probably not the smartest thing to do at 3.00am in the morning in a strange city! But I felt pretty safe all the time in NYC.

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John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted February 5, 2009
Of course Brian. It's an industry standard arrangement.

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Guru Bob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 5, 2009
I am off to join those other slobs for the Melbourne burger get together and we will raise our drinks to our compadres in foreign lands...

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Lobes reckons...

Posted February 5, 2009
Shit! I forgot about the butchers grill. I was going to do a cameo and surprise everyone. But I went to rugby training and then organised to meet some mates afterwards.

Damn, I really wanted to meet Chaz and Havock too.

Is it the butchers grill at Docklands or Bourke St?

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Guru Bob reckons...

Posted February 6, 2009
Lobes - you big palooka - we were wondering which country you were in at present - and the night was a pretty big one too... Nautilus took photos.

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Lobes asserts...

Posted February 6, 2009
I emailed Birmo to get your phone number but I think he was stretched out in United 1st class

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Guru Bob reckons...

Posted February 6, 2009
Damn damn damn - we were in the Bourke Street place - not many other customers and we were in the 'private' dining room so it was pretty loud...

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Lobes reckons...

Posted February 6, 2009
shite, i coulda made the tail end, oh well UNT

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Respond to 'To work, to work.'

I'm in lerv with Annabel.

Posted February 2, 2009 by John Birmingham
Not the chick, whoever she may be. The bar-n-grill.

About two doorsdown from my hotel there's a great little joint, a bar/bistro called Annabel's that the hotel's wine guy recommended . I'd been wary of eating there because it's almost always a bad idea just to choose a joint on the basis of proximity. But the Palomar staff assured me it was cool, it was the place they went after shift, and I could could do a lot worse.

So, to answer Lobes' question below I dropped into Annabels to catch the Superbowl after I'd filed Blunty, and stayed for dinner after perusing the menu which was 90% organic, with nary a burger or fry to be seen.

Best bit though was the bar, where dozens of loud Americans had gathered to watch the game. I instantly backed Arizona because they were the underdog and some hapless Aussie was playing for them.

They lost, but it was damned close run ting thing in the end, and although I had no effin' idea what was going on, and the flow of the game seemed incredibly jerky and stop-start, it was still great fun and all my new best friends were more than happy to explain WTF was happening.

I think they were mostly backing Arizona too, given their barbaric joy at the late game come back from the less fancied team.

26 Responses to ‘I'm in lerv with Annabel.’

Abe ducks in to say...

Posted February 2, 2009
Hope you took the opportunity to sell some books...our economy is relying on you and this trip.

Respond to this comment

yankeedog asserts...

Posted February 2, 2009
Glad The City by the Bay is treating you well. The weather there can be a bit interesting, but not Midwest frigid!

That was a fairly exciting game, if not necessarily brilliantly played in spots. I thought Arizona might get a pass down to Fitzgerald at the end to steal the game but Pittsburgh's defense was (only just) good enough to hold.

Good observation on the flow of action there. It is jerky and in no way fluid, especially when there are reviews and challenges. Back in the '80s, ESPN showed AFL games. Now I enjoyed Australian football but my thought was 'How the hell do you stop someone?' The ball carrier was getting tackled and he just got up and kept running! A fun watch, Aussie football.

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Therbs is gonna tell you...

Posted February 2, 2009
You're staying in a Hardware Store? That's cool.

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Chaz has opinions thus...

Posted February 2, 2009
It's not like it's Union though, is it?

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NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 2, 2009
No Chaz, they only play one game Up There.

Therbs, Your coherence pills buddy, 2 in the morning 2 at night.

Were you buying drinks boss?

Respond to this comment

Lobes mutters...

Posted February 2, 2009
The Dennys ad made me LoL

http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=p96FC_fQrg0

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HAVOCK ducks in to say...

Posted February 2, 2009
Chaz, they don't tend to sniff each other, poke bums, pick noses or stomp and squirrel grip. TF.

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DrYobbo puts forth...

Posted February 2, 2009
Ben Graham looks very, very old. He makes Troy Corser look like Casey Stoner. I don't care that that's an obscure bike racer reference. What's more important is that as the punter he's less important than the team bus driver and the guy who peels the half time oranges (or whatever the US sport equivalent is, probably making up the Gatorade)

Steelers won narrowly, as picked in the World of Bollocks' Superbowl for Dummies preview (gratuitous self promotion being a hallmark of the World of Bollocks) but in truth I'd have preferred to see the Cards get up, washed-up ex-Geelong punter or no.

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Nautilus asserts...

Posted February 2, 2009
i got ya reference good doctor.

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sparty would have you know...

Posted February 2, 2009
Good game although wish I'd seen it in teh States- although its been good to be at Wembely last 2 years to see teh NFL there. Best Foreign policy decision the US have made in a while!

Respond to this comment

Puma mutters...

Posted February 3, 2009
last few minutes of game was interrupted by 30 seconds of porn here. Signal from Club Jenna was somehow accidently spliced in. or not accidently. they don't know yet and alot of the locals are irate. LOL.

Respond to this comment

mckinneytexas is gonna tell you...

Posted February 3, 2009
If the Steelers hadn't had have the ref's calling the game for them and the other half asleep on most plays, the Cards would have won. I started off with a lukewarm interest in the underdog winning, but the flagrance of the shitty officiating was too much. I'm still pissed that the game turned on shitty calls by the officials.

Glad you found the gringos to be friendly folks. That's pretty typical.

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mckinneytexas is gonna tell you...

Posted February 3, 2009
'Have' in the first sentence should be 'half'.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted February 3, 2009
Except for the typo, I agree with McKinney. I am not a big football fan and I didn't even plan on watching the game, but I did, and it was clear, even to me, that the Cards got robbed as the world watched.

Respond to this comment

Rhino puts forth...

Posted February 3, 2009
::AHEM::

ROBBED?

You have got to be kidding me.

Respond to this comment

Rhino reckons...

Posted February 3, 2009
Best headline from Fark.com this morning:

Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow today, so we can expect six more weeks of whining about the Super Bowl officiating.

Respond to this comment

Paul Nicholas Boylan puts forth...

Posted February 3, 2009
Yes. Robbed. By the zebras.

Every time I see Punxsutawney Phil I am overcome by the question of what groundhog tastes like in a light cream sauce with capers.

Respond to this comment

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted February 3, 2009
Ah, this would explain why Groundhog Day was on the in house movies last night.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mutters...

Posted February 3, 2009
See if it is on the room service menu.

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Nautilus is gonna tell you...

Posted February 3, 2009
Hang on, lets go back to Puma's comment.

"last few minutes of game was interrupted by 30 seconds of porn here. Signal from Club Jenna was somehow accidently spliced in. or not accidently. they don’t know yet and alot of the locals are irate. LOL."

The locals are irate???? Are they getting charged for the 30 seconds???

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mckinneytexas ducks in to say...

Posted February 3, 2009
Robbed in broad daylight. Repeatedly.

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Chaz has opinions thus...

Posted February 3, 2009
Naut, the puritans are banging at the gate!

Respond to this comment

Lobes mumbles...

Posted February 3, 2009
How do you think I felt when I was about to see Jenna get a faceful and suddenly my porno-channel cut to Kurt Warner getting sacked!

Real mood-killer.

Respond to this comment

puma asserts...

Posted February 4, 2009
It certainly got a rise out of alot of people.

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sparty is gonna tell you...

Posted February 4, 2009
wonder if it gave Rhino the horn?

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echidnaz puts forth...

Posted December 1, 2010

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Respond to 'I'm in lerv with Annabel.'

Great day in San Fran'

Posted February 1, 2009 by John Birmingham
The flight got in about ten minutes early this morning due to west-east tail winds and I cleared customs/immigration in less than five minutes. It was astounding really. The inflight video about US border security was a horror movie but I had no trouble at all.

The flight over was great. I decided to save my upgrades for the US domestic legs, which are way uglier than the transpacific route. Luckily the girl at the check-in desk at Brisbane was a fan so she grabbed me the best economy seat on the flight, near the over wing wing exits, which gave me two metres of leg room room, and nobody in the seat next to me. Poifect!

As always there was one hideous, excrutiating moment when a fellow passenger attempted to get themselves bumped up to business or first class. A Russian in this case, mumbling some garbled shit about 'Do I need passport to go up to First"

No, you just need another twenty grand Ivan, sit the fuck down.

Had a lovely salmon salad in the Qantas Club before embarking so I skipped the in-flight meal. The Bose QC 3 headphones proved their worth by blocking out most of the engine and cabin noise, allowing me to read Iain Banks Matter and watch a couple of eps of 24,  Series 1, which I'd never got around to before.

Random House had organised a limo to pick me up and take me to the hotel, which was nice, and I deployed my first tip, ten bucks to Jonathon the driver. My next tip went to Atiz the bellhop, who was from Pakistan. Keta the receptionist was from South Africa, so we blew off fifteen minutes discussing the test cricket rankings and the recent series in Oz. Was just like being at home.

I rang Professor Boylan and organised to meet him after skyping home to chat with the chillun. We went down to the markets and embarked upon a tour of the non tourist waterfront district, where me met a couple of Germans recently decamped from Noosa, and partook of crab salad. some excellent local and imported caviar and oysters and some rather nice west coast reds, which I believe Mr Flinthart had warned me against, but WTF, when in Rome.

Big props to Paul who was the perfect host and pulled out all stops. I cannot imagine anyone matching him his performance for grace and generosity today. We met some interesting folks along our travels and he deposited me back to the Palomar Hotel in good order where I discovered a complimentary fruit basket and bottle of Beaujolais waiting. courtesy of the manager. The Prof and I shall breakfast in the morning. All in all an examplary start to the tour, almost entirey due to the Prof's good graces.

49 Responses to ‘Great day in San Fran'’

Tarl ducks in to say...

Posted February 1, 2009
Welcome to the 'states!

It looks like we're actually going to have good weather for you in New York - after the snow on Tuesday, it should be mostly sunny, and will actually get above freezing on Friday.

See you Friday!

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uamada would have you know...

Posted February 1, 2009
See now i had heard Paul Boylan was the devil, so be careful.

At breakfast try Vegemite on him, see if he dissolves into a pool of goo.

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Lobes has opinions thus...

Posted February 1, 2009
How nice to hear of your pleasant journey.

Ice Cube said it best: http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=c4RY-eJgHHs

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Moko would have you know...

Posted February 1, 2009
Holy shit. Lucky bastard.

Eat a New York pizza for me.

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Orin mumbles...

Posted February 1, 2009
I've found SFO to have the best "entry experience" into the USA. They seem a lot more relaxed and happy than they do at other places. Going through the process at LAX and Dallas can be a nightmare.

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Rayse mutters...

Posted February 1, 2009
A Limo and a bottle of Beaujolais! Thats quite a welcome.

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Abe has opinions thus...

Posted February 1, 2009
Actually I found Boston the easiest and SFO the worst. Mind you, in SFO's case, it was just before the 'tech wreck' so I figure anyone working at the airport had a 2 hour commute and then probably spent half their paycheck on rent to boot.

Disappointed the publisher didn't spring for business class. I might just have to shelve the spy novel plans after all.

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Abe has opinions thus...

Posted February 1, 2009
PS Not surprised Boylan put on such a show. He seems like a very decent chap.

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Bangar puts forth...

Posted February 1, 2009
A good start to the trip.

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Flinthart reckons...

Posted February 1, 2009
It's only the Zinfandel, man. The rest of 'em were... well, they were the kind of swill I'm well accustomed to keeping down. But the Zinfandel was just flat wrong. All the way wrong.

SF is a very, very fine city. Portland, SF and Seattle would be my three fave US cities, if I had to choose which I was gonna save from a nuking.

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Nautilus mumbles...

Posted February 1, 2009
Well done Paul. Sounds like you are making the most of the trip and meeting the people instead of just seeing the sights!

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Big Bad Al has opinions thus...

Posted February 1, 2009
The Birmo juganaught has hit the USofA. Good to see the locals were friendly.

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beeso asserts...

Posted February 1, 2009
you tried fring on the iphone for skype calls jb?

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Murphy mutters...

Posted February 1, 2009
My girlfriend will be pleased to know you enjoyed the wine down in San Fran. :) Glad you had a safe flight and a good first day.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Lobes ducks in to say...

Posted February 2, 2009
Here you go JB. A bit of Fan Art for your American campaign:

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Lobes ducks in to say...

Posted February 2, 2009

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Lobes swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 2, 2009
Ack, my mad html skillz have been pwned by the new Cheeseburger.

Does anyone know which exhaust port you have to torpedo to get an image in a comment?

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Rhino puts forth...

Posted February 2, 2009
He lands. Should have thought about this before you arrived ... but it would have (could be?) be very cool if you could Twitter while you are in the States about things that are happening so that we get a running narrative.

Yes, it is the interwebs and we are that intrusive.

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RobinB puts forth...

Posted February 2, 2009
I have to agree with Flinthart re the Zins, vile stuff. By the same token the Prof has mentioned in a few of his entries the fine quality of some examples that only he and a small cadre know about. Hopefully you we party to those.

Well done on missing LAX.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan puts forth...

Posted February 2, 2009
Too late, mates. Birmo has sampled three different zinfandels. As Chaz implied, I am all about corrupting the innocent.

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John Birmingham asserts...

Posted February 2, 2009
Well, they were very small samples, but quite nice a refined, smokey sorta way. Would hve gone very well with a strong blue cheese, if I was eatin' cheese at the time.

Again, props to the Prof for some champion hosting.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted February 2, 2009
Not Chaz. uamada. I often get you two confused. You do look alike.

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Brian is gonna tell you...

Posted February 2, 2009
Prof - Re. Chaz and uamada resemblance. I guess its the slightly feral look in their eye's that do it.

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Therbs ducks in to say...

Posted February 2, 2009
JB, just make sure the good Prof shows you his collection of lesbian pantomime horse pics featuring Sarah Palin.

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Chaz swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 2, 2009
JB: Just five minutes through customs and no reaching for the rubber gloves? Damn must have got the flight number wrong!!

PB: yes having two eyes and a mouth can be confusing!

Brian, it's not feral it's well something else!

Therbs no he can't, he promised me I'd be the first one to see them!!

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Havock asserts...

Posted February 2, 2009
GOD help us all now, Chaz, I thought the back up call may well have worked,

Lobes, when ya get the CODE for it ( HTML), let me know. I AM A WIZ I THINK.well, watch the writing dis

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tygertim mutters...

Posted February 2, 2009
FYI, Non Zin Fans! The closer to the vinyard, the better it tastes....

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Orin mutters...

Posted February 2, 2009

I suspect that IMG tags are not enabled on this blog.

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Guru Bob mumbles...

Posted February 2, 2009
Good to see that Mr Boylan is keeping up appearances to the standard we wish to become accustomed to.

Is every one over here set for Thursday's meat fest with Chaz and Mr Bedak in sunny Melbourne?

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tygertim swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 2, 2009
Hey! Rhino! Where's the Crown? Ya gotta have a Crown on that Rhino....

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Lobes ducks in to say...

Posted February 2, 2009
NOOOO!!!

I was really pulling for the Cats... er Cards by the end of that.

Where'd you watch it JB? Best Ad?

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Havock swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 2, 2009
yep, just need an address

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Havock has opinions thus...

Posted February 2, 2009
or are we killin a steer and cookin it on the side of the road?

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Chaz mutters...

Posted February 2, 2009
H. we are meeting at 18:30 at Butchers Grill which is at 141 Bourke street. With drinks at the Carlton afterwards.

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Chaz would have you know...

Posted February 2, 2009
Orin, do you thing you'll be able to make it?

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HAVOCK asserts...

Posted February 2, 2009
Chaz , please tell me the BG is Licenced...PLEASE. for IGHT, I have to get home afterwards ya bastards.

Hey, if they run outta food when can grill that BLARKON thing

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Chaz reckons...

Posted February 2, 2009
Of course it's licensed. What sort of palce do you think I'd take you to?!!

Hmmmmm grilled space lizard..tastes like chicken!!

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tygertim ducks in to say...

Posted February 2, 2009
Licensed? Licensed? What the devil are you chaps gassing on about licensed???? I thought all spirituous purveyors were licensed....

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Paul Nicholas Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 3, 2009
I once had a license to kill. Now I don't even have a permit. And you know what? I'm glad. Even the fees associated with the permit were killing me.

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tygertim asserts...

Posted February 3, 2009
But Professor, I hear you're licensed to Thrill.... at least according to the tourists...

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mckinneytexas ducks in to say...

Posted February 3, 2009
Boylan sets the bar high. I'm with Flint on zin. You can occasionally find a good bottle, but the cabs are much more consistent.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mumbles...

Posted February 3, 2009
Mckinney, y'all come on out and allow me to extend a little Northern Californian hospitality and I guaranty you will develop a better appreciation for zin.

As I attempted to explain to John during fleeting moments of lucidity, Californians drink zin in much the same spiritual manner that Russians drink vodka and Serbians drink Slivovitz - it is part of our culture.

When I push it on non Californians I don't expect them to like it. But I do hope that, by tasting it, they come to understand us a bit better. Zin is a reflection of our character, both good and bad.

It is the only true strain of the original zinfandel brought here 150 years ago by Croatian immigrants - and those old vines are still producing. War and neglect has rendered the same grape extinct in Europe, despite what some Italian vintners claim.

The resulting wine is a product of our soil and our sun. It is big, bursting with flavors overtones and undertones like chocolate and red berries. It is meant to be opened and poured immediately. No breathing - so no waiting. It is instant gratification, which we crave.

It accompanies grilled meats beautifully. We've learned that there is a certain magic when it is sipped while nibbling on dark chocolate to cleanse the palate.

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mckinneytexas swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 3, 2009
Boylan, there is a better than even chance that you will have that opportunity, but I will likely be traveling with my spousal unit and that does cramp my style a bit. As it happens, when Birmo hits town, the bride will be out of the country. Damn good thing too. One thing I won't do is tout Texas wine to a Californian. The best I can say about PRT wine is that a lot of it has gotten to the point of being drinkable, and not immediately distinguishable from mid-range, high production Californians. But if you're ever in Houston, I do have a decent stash of Cal, French and Italian (along with Chilean and even some pretty decent Oz stuff). And, I will put our restaurants up with anyone's, including Manhattan.

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tygertim would have you know...

Posted February 3, 2009
McKinney, what's the name of that Steak House, you know, the one with the world's biggest Steak??? Ahhh, what's the name, place is drowning in Lone Star Flags... Take Paul there and show him real Texas hospitality.... (My sister in Law is from Corpus Christi, and y'all ain't lived until you've had barbecued Texas Prawns the size of small Lobsters! The Colonel's family does'em Tex-Mex Mummmmnnnn!)

Now as to Cali Zin, welllll, like I said, the closer to the vineyard, the better it tastes, Y'all best get Paul to drive you to the estate tasting room for the true quill, which will surprise you no doubt about it...

That should take care of THAT pissing contest... :P

(notice i've steered them away from the prawns. i have my reasons >:-D)

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Paul Nicholas Boylan would have you know...

Posted February 3, 2009
McKinney: I don't mind at all if your wife accompanies you. The odds are mine will, too. Between you and me, my wife cramps my style in ways that will keep me alive a bit longer than if she did not.

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John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted February 3, 2009
Yeah, wives do that.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mumbles...

Posted February 3, 2009
And thank God.

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mckinneytexas would have you know...

Posted February 3, 2009
Yes, they do. Mostly for the good.

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tygertim reckons...

Posted February 4, 2009
Ayup. They do.

"You're not wearing that old thing are you"? They do try to save us from ourselves....

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Respond to 'Great day in San Fran''

JB's travel tips.

Posted January 25, 2009 by John Birmingham
That's for JB, not by JB.

The heads up on getting a cheap US cell phone, and Monster Yup's advice on seat allocation and upgrades has led me to think it'd be a good idea to throw open this topic to all comers.

What have you got for me?

From sneaky upgrade tricks to immune system bolstering vitamins and where to get a decent cup of coffee in New York, I'll take 'em all.

The cities I'll be visiting are San Francisco, San Diego, New York, Huston, Seattle.

56 Responses to ‘JB's travel tips.’

Mark R. Whittington ducks in to say...

Posted January 25, 2009
One of the best TexMex places in Houston, one of which which I believe is near the bookstore where JB is appearing, is Ninfas.

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jennicki swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 25, 2009
Cheap cellphones...Virgin Mobile is a good one. You can buy the phone really cheap at Target, with no contract. You can either purchase pre-paid minutes at Target or you can set it up right on the phone, I believe.

Wish you were coming to the Midwest! My brother (cartguyforever) and I would love to meet with you if you were in the Detroit/Chicago area.

I hope you have a fun trip!

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lostatlunch asserts...

Posted January 25, 2009
walk up to the first airport security guard you see and smack him in the face... you will get more respect that way... then explain the special relationship between Austria & the USA will ensure you get off.

I would not take my advice.

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Flinthart puts forth...

Posted January 25, 2009
1) Take the Underground Tour in Seattle, if you can. Sometime in the late 19th or early 20th century, they had a real problem in Seattle with mud and floods. Their solution was to raise all the streets and sidewalks one level, so that the ground floor became sub-ground one level. Of course, the old facilities and entrances remained, and the new sidewalks became the roofs of tunnels around the various buildings, and linking them in places.

Fantastic bloody history to those sub-levels. They were nigh-forgotten, all but abandoned after they were sealed up due to rats/plague early in the C20th... so you can imagine the uses they found with The Wrong Element. They also featured in an early episode/movie of The Night Stalker... and if the tours are still operating, they're worth every minute and every penny.

2) Beer is highly problematic. In an emergency, ask for 'Malt Liquor'. At least you can be sure the strength will be roughly what you're used to. Otherwise, confer at length with the locals about the microbrews from their area. Under no circumstances --- NOT EVEN IF YOU'RE TRAPPED FOR THREE DAYS DUE TO MASSIVE RIOTS IN LOS ANGELES -- should you purchase beer from a convenience store. They... do things to it. They hurt it. Don't. Just... don't.

3) When they offer to put cream in your coffee, they mean milk. And don't accept the Non Dairy Creamer. Nobody actually knows what's in it, but prevailing theory suggests it's part of a Reagan-era Black Ops mind control programme. Or a very sneaky method of disposing of industrial waste.

4) Buy a bottle of pepper sauce, like Tabasco, and carry it. Americans make excellent pepper sauce, which is surprising when you discover how very very bland is most of the food you can easily get at.

5) Don't let the orange stuff fool you. It isn't really cheese. The converse of this: if you like good cheese, you must make a point of asking, wherever you go, for the nearest high-end Euro-style or similar delicatessen. Nothing you can find in convenience stores or supermarkets actually resembles cheese as you presently understand it.

6) Look, I know you like big red wines. For the love of God, Montresor: DON'T LET THE CALIFORNIANS FOOL YOU INTO DRINKING ZINFANDEL. My friends and I rechristened that variety "Infidel", and to this day, I have nightmares. Stick to the pricier pinot noirs from Cali, or source Oz imports if you must chase a good red.

7) When in doubt, a robust Steve Irwin impression may actually serve to get you out of trouble with the natives. They liked him, for some reason. Hopefully it won't come to that... but you could try carrying a stingray barb with you, just in case.

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MudCrab is gonna tell you...

Posted January 25, 2009
Seatle has the Sci Fiction Museum which is located near that big Space Needle thingy. VERY cool.

Also if you want some top end plane porn goto the Museum of Flight. You do not realise how sexy a SR71 looks until you see one in the Titanium Alloy Flesh.

As for North American beer? The local brewers do actually make REALLY good beer. As long as you don't reconise the brand name you should be fine.

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Monster Yuppy would have you know...

Posted January 25, 2009
I echo Flinthart's advice on Steve Irwin.. When in doubt...make out like you are the bastard lovechild of Paul Hogan and Steve... Gets you great service in bars/pubs, and possibly out of speeding tickets if used correctly...

Can you be a bit more specific as to your itinerary ?

Which places will you be visiting and how long for ?

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Monster Yuppy puts forth...

Posted January 25, 2009
Shit .. didnt read the fine print.. ok...I know where you are going...New York is probably the pick of my sightseeing experience...will pull out my travel notes...

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Big Bad Al would have you know...

Posted January 25, 2009
Vegemite. Take heaps of Vegemite.

Is Vegemite a banned substance in the USofA? Check with the US Embassy.

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Tarl puts forth...

Posted January 25, 2009
Flinthart is mistaken - our mass-market beer hasn't been hurt, it's supposed to be like that. It's a demonstration of America's biotech dominance - we have managed to produce artificial horse kidneys to filter the beer, and the result tastes just like it went through a real horse.

As for real hints - in NY, since you are still recovering from pneumonia, I'd recommend you minimize the time spent outdoors.

If you have any control over your flights, try to get flights which take off in the morning, since weather-induced delays cascade through the system and affect pretty much *all* afternoon flights across the country. If you have to make a connection in Chicago, your day is going to be shot.

Bring a laptop, most hotels will have wireless service (although they'll probably charge you $10-$15/day for it).

You might want to keep the following URL around so you have an idea what to expect the next day:

http://weather.yahoo.com/New-York-JFK-Intl-Arpt-New-York-United-States/USNY0999/forecast.html?unit=c

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Flinthart ducks in to say...

Posted January 25, 2009
Horrible how well that accent works, isn't it MonsterYup? Downright cringeworthy.

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John Birmingham asserts...

Posted January 25, 2009
I'm planning on getting some India Pale Ale from the Dogfish brewery to see me thru the trip.

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Monster Yuppy puts forth...

Posted January 25, 2009
I use it in situations which require

A. Free drinks B. Attractive women C. Better Hotel rooms D. All of the above.

At the last conference I went to in LA, one lady kept coming up to me and would ask me "Say something Australian..It's just so cute.."

The "Evil Idiot"* in me had me reciting Kevin Bloody Wilson songs to her

I also have used the accent just to confuse the seppos for my own amusement.. Walk into The Gap at any mall and when one of the little fresh faced kiddies wearing a headset welcomes you to the store...shake their hand vigorously and just rattle on with anything... the look on their face is priceless after a few minutes of them not understanding a single word they say...

* as opposed to "Evil Genius"

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sparty puts forth...

Posted January 25, 2009
Do the harbour tour of Midway and see the Clintons relations at berth! The Midway Carrier is a great visit - really cool sitting in the captains chair on the bridge looking out across the flight deck and seeing nuclear super carriers dead ahead.

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sparty asserts...

Posted January 25, 2009
sorry that shluld read harbour tour of san diego!

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HAVOCK swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 26, 2009
The accent does not surprise me, I am still amazed at how many Yanks ON LINE love the accent and want ya to talk, so LIVE I would suggest you quite possible could get away with Murder. Thought about anything with CROCK skin..ya never know.

And SLEEP, I found sleeping on the plan as much as possible. AND THEN GROG when ya land. But i could be wrong to.

Barman attention is bet got by..." HEY MATE", or "OI Mate", delivered loudly. Just be ready for the stars. that accent sticks out like dogs balls.

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HAVOCK would have you know...

Posted January 26, 2009
Oh and if ya catch up with the Pettin Kitty Cats feral, slap the big bastard for me, that or get him BLIND and bring back pics.

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thelonesailor reckons...

Posted January 26, 2009
As far as Houston (Huston) goes it is only around 45 minutes to the battleship Texas. the Museum is open it appears, but that area may stil be pretty beat up. Also , in texas instead of soda, or pop, all soft drinks are cokes, even if they are Dr. Pepper. A GPS might be a good investment. The larger cities in Texas have a bunch of toll roads and most GPS systems can be programmed to avoid them. Plus, if you get a TomTom, you can change to voice to sound like John Cleese. This helps alleviate the stress that comes from the realization that the other drivers actually ARE trying to hit you. This is assuming you will be driving. If not, just hope for the best.

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tygertim puts forth...

Posted January 26, 2009
John, instant (sort of) replay:

By Tygertim8, January 22, 2009 @ 6:27 am

When in London, order Spitfire Beer. Downed all over Kent, just like the Luftwaffe….

When in Canada, order LeBlatts, Pam Anderson got her start by wearing their Tee Shirt at a Footie game, Jus’ sayin’

In OZ, order anything BUT Fosters. It’s for the tourists…

{Important Tip for John B.} In Seppoland, go immediately to the nearest microbrewery (Anchor Steam in San Francisco) as microbrewery guys worship Beer, and CRAFT their product… You’re sure to find the Beer for you, as they usually have handcrafted small batch “specials” worth the extra coin…. Try:

21st Amendment Brewery Cafe

563 Second St.

(bet. Brannan & Bryant Sts.)

San Francisco, CA | Map

415-369-0900

or in the Haight-Ashebury

Magnolia Gastropub & Brewery

1398 Haight St.

(Masonic Ave.)

San Francisco, CA | Map

415-864-7468

or

Rogue Ales Public House

673 Union St.

(Columbus Ave.)

San Francisco, CA | Map

415-362-7880

And don't forget MAX's ! If there's a sticker that says "This is a bad place for a diet" on the door, you're at the right place... You can check out their online site at:

http://www.maxsworld.com/maxs/index.php

Now that I've saved you from the horrors of Coors, Budwiser, Pabst and Miller, my good deed for the day is done...

Oh, and a Survival tip for the intrepid Aussie traveler, "Olde English 800" will serve in a pinch as a stand in... and can be found in most liquor stores.

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tygertim ducks in to say...

Posted January 26, 2009
Hey, how come there's no TT8 or Tygertimate orTygertim's Journal on the blog roll? :l

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TeamAmerica is gonna tell you...

Posted January 26, 2009
BigBadAl-"Is Vegemite a banned substance in the USofA? Check with the US Embassy"

Not so much banned, AKAIK, as much as unknown.

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Leo euler puts forth...

Posted January 26, 2009
I will agree that everyone here pretty much loves an Australian accent.

Some things last year I learned going around in New York, as someone who had never visited:

1. If you are driving a car, it might be several hours before you can find parking. So paying 20 bucks immediately for a parking garage might be a good deal. Also, car driving might be kind of slow for you. The second time I visited, it took me something like two hours to go from one end of Manhattan to the other in a car, lol. If you get a rental car, get one with GPS!

2. I was excited about eating New York pizza. I know every place says they have the world's best pizza, but when I saw a sign outside Totonno's that said something like, "Only God makes better pizza" I wanted to go there...I eventually had the opportunity, lol.

3. If you visit Ground Zero, you will see that it's huge. Also, don't take pictures inside the building right next to it. They don't like that. -_- (it's called the World Financial Building or something like that. Something to do with money).

4. It's just funny how you can be driving around in Manhattan and go from one section to another so quickly. It's cool.

5. By the way, did you know that New York has TWO Chinatowns? The one in Manhattan, and the one in Flushing (Queens). It's kind of interesting. I actually had Christmas dinner in a hot pot place there in Christmas 2007. Hot pot's good if you've never had it.

I wish I had the time to see you in your trip, JB, but I'm afraid I don't this time. Take care, though.

-Samuel C.

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Orin has opinions thus...

Posted January 26, 2009
Why don't you just turn on global roaming on your current mobile phone?

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Orin puts forth...

Posted January 26, 2009
And a phone card for longer calls home from your hotel - you can get them almost anywhere - I had a walmart one last time I was over there - as if you get a cheapie mobile (I still think you should just get roaming on your current one - assuming it supports roaming in the US (most do, but check)) you'll still pay evil rates for non phonecard calls to Oz.

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Murphy is gonna tell you...

Posted January 26, 2009
Cindy/Trinity says if in California to go to Napa Valley and visit the Coppola Vinyards. Sometimes Francis Ford Coppola will be there.

Trinity also says that Napa has some of the best red wines in the world. Me personally, I prefer rieslings myself so I don't have a dog in this fight. That said, I've got her back.

And she's got mine all the way to NYC.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Blarkon has opinions thus...

Posted January 26, 2009
Don't dress as awesomely as you usually do. Americans aren't ready for an Australian metrosexual. They'll think your Austrian.

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JBW reckons...

Posted January 26, 2009
Hey JB. As far as coffee in NYC goes, Cafe Grumpy is the ticket: www.cafegrumpy.com/

That said, Ninth Street Espresso also comes highly recommended: www.ninthstreetespresso.com

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HAVOCK mumbles...

Posted January 26, 2009
Orin, Global roaming ( lol), I was gunna ask, but figured our resident GEEK author would have checked THAT!.

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HAVOCK ducks in to say...

Posted January 26, 2009
Opps, JB, it does work, A friend I have is now is Boston, her current number is the same as she had in OZ,

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damian mumbles...

Posted January 26, 2009
In Seattle, make sure to get someone to take you to see the Fremont Troll. Actually - in addition to the underground tour there ought to be a "other kind of underground" tour or at least a tour of the public art, which is some of the quirkiest in the world.

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Tucker Dwynn swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 26, 2009
When are you going to be in Seattle?

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John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted January 26, 2009
You cheeky fucker. I have roaming on, but I'm getting the local cell for local calls and voicemail. You think I want to pay Telstra's rates for making a call across the street in NY?

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John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 26, 2009
I've already turned roaming on, and the phone card is a good idea, but I want a cheap throwaway phone for local calls and voicemail without the hassle of cards or Telstra's international rates.

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John Birmingham asserts...

Posted January 26, 2009
I'm at at Borderlands Books, 866 Valencia St, 7 p.m, on 3 Feb.

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Pete has opinions thus...

Posted January 26, 2009
If my Canada experience is anything to go by, and the SBS doco on coffee & the fact that the Yanks only ever buy the worst available beans, take your own pack of Lavazza or other coffee! Next time I go, that's what I'm doing. Screw THEIR bongwater 'coffee' byproduct extraction. Eyeww.

Have a great trip!

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HAVOCK puts forth...

Posted January 26, 2009
hey!, another thought that popped into my already full head. WHO are you giving the keys to at BLUNTY whilst ya gone?.

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John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted January 26, 2009
Blunty will get filed, same as always.

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HAVOCK is gonna tell you...

Posted January 26, 2009
Wicked,

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Matthew K is gonna tell you...

Posted January 26, 2009
Happy Australia day.

love

A Pom

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MudCrab mumbles...

Posted January 26, 2009
Extra to what Monster Yuppie said WAYYYYY above about putting on the Aussie Twag, inventing Australian words and throwing them into the conversation is always fun.

If you get a bad ale tell the girl the beer is 'a bit Moomba' and ask (politely of course) if she could get you another one.

"Actually it's worse then Moomba, it's totally WoggaWogga."

And if you are feeling completely childish remember that ROOT is a clothing label and NOT something to get on a Friday night :D

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Lobes has opinions thus...

Posted January 26, 2009
Happy Australia day all you mad punters!

I am off to the Big Day Out to celebrate all things irreverent. Check me in the boiler room

Oh yeah... Come on Jelena!!

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Blarkon asserts...

Posted January 26, 2009
Make sure that all the nudie pics sent to you by hot burgerette fans are removed from your hard disk prior to you going through customs.

You can continue to forward them to Rhino for review though as it makes his day a little brighter each time you do.

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G is gonna tell you...

Posted January 26, 2009
Whats this sneaky upgrade trick i keep hearing....One sure fire way is to get a Right Hon, Next to your name on the Airlines database, Like my Son of a bitch cousin did. His best mate's Mother works for Qantas and did it for him. BASTARD.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 26, 2009
I do not deal well with jet lag. But over the years I've learned a little trick: I drink heavily on the flight, take a motion sickness pill, and sleep through the flight.

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Nautilus mutters...

Posted January 26, 2009
Remember, over there fanny means bum.

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Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted January 26, 2009
There are plenty of Starbucks in NYC (though strangely, they are all far away from the lodgings). Here is something I found while noodling around on Google Map.

http://www.joetheartofcoffee.com/

I wonder if I can get a decent cup of tea? I must be the only American who is addicted to the leaf instead of the bean.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Lobes asserts...

Posted January 27, 2009
I got my US phone from a shop called Radio Shack. Its a chain of electronics stores. They are pretty much everywhere.

New York lives up to its reputation as a pretty crazy place. Just visualise yourself as being in an episode of seinfeld and go with the flow. Something nuts will happen before too long. This website http://flavorpill.com/newyork and the NY Post are must reads for the modern Manhattanite.

My tipping dilemma involved a haircut. I wasnt sure how much to tip the hairdresser, if at all. So I had to surreptitiously text message my American friend while I was being snipped to discover the correct criterion.

FTR the haircut was $30 and I tipped her $5. It seemed to be fairly well recieved.

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mckinneytexas asserts...

Posted January 27, 2009
A couple of thoughts: first, don't try to drive in San Fran or NY--it just isn't worth it. I can navigate SF, but just barely an only because I'm used to driving on the wrong side of the road. Also, parking can be very tough in SF, impossible in NY--taking a cab or hiring a driver is the best route. Manhattan, if not too cold, is great walking country. I don't know enough about Seattle or San Diego to have an opinion. Houston is a bitch too, but I think I can find a way around that. Always carry 3-400 in cash, 50 of which in fives and ones. Make absolutely sure your ATM cards will work in the US. If necessary, put some cash in a Fidelity account and get a VISA debit card. Do that today because your time is running short. You get the best exchange rate using ATM's when you travel--no agent's fee. Keep two pair of underwear and socks in your carry on. with all of your flying, they are likely to misplace your luggage. You can buy a razor, toothbrush, etc. at any hotel. Jet lag is a bitch. I can't even guess at the sleep cycle variance you'll face when you hit the west coast, but, for example, when we go to Europe, it's technically an overnight flight with arrival usually around 10 a.m. local time, but I still leave the day for recovery--hit the hotel, shower and take a long nap, get up around 5'ish local time and hit the city. I take a sleeping pill at 11 or so and I am on local time until I leave. I believe in better living through chemistry. I'm sure you have the strongest stomach in the world. Still though, I would carry a shitload of quality acid reducers, like Zantac 150, and take one or two everyday before dinner. The cumulative effect of massive amounts of rich food, booze, schedules, airports,etc will take its toll--waking up at 3 a.m. with acid reflux is no fun at all, especially with no medicine at hand. Rolaids and shit like that don't work. Likewise, get your doc to give you a prescription of 20 or so 10mg ambien--good shit for shutting down the brain and getting some rest. Go to a quality travel luggage shop and get the mini-umbrella and keep it in your carry-on travel bag.

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tygertim is gonna tell you...

Posted January 27, 2009
John, When you get to your hotel, take a nap. Then, as San Francisco (downtown) is pretty good walking country, go to the Visitor Center at Civic Center BART station, I think you can get a Pass for all of the Municipal Transit services like MUNI, the Cable Cars, BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) train, and this should get you close to anything you want to see in most of the Bay Area (BART for instance can get you from Walnut Creek which is accros the bay, to Berkley, almost to San Jose. (

Welcome to Civic Center

Civic Center Station is nearby some notable San Francisco destinations including including City Hall, War Memorial Opera House, Asian Art Museum, Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall, and the Main Branch of the San Francisco Public Library.) See : http://www.bart.gov/index.aspx BART does have a neighborhood Map on it's website, but pick one up at the Hotel Concierge desk...

The DeYoung Museum in Golden Gate Park is Worth the visit along with the Aquarium/Heparium just across from it.

Market St. is a nice slice of San Francisco to walk and get a feel for the town. Beware of the Pan Handlers though... Walk down to the Embarcadero, and hang a left (Herb Caen Way) and walk to Fisherman's Warf (that timeless tourist trap) or take the Cable Car to Ghirideli Sqare which is right there. For Drinks go to the Top of the Mark: Top of the Mark? 9

Address:

Top of the Mark Frommer's Recommended

Address

1 Nob Hill

Location: In the Mark Hopkins Intercontinental, California and Mason Sts

Phone 415/616-6916

Web site www.topofthemark.com

Prices Cover $5-$10

Frommer's Review

This is one of the most famous cocktail lounges in the world, and for good reason -- the spectacular glass-walled room features an unparalleled 19th-floor view. During World War II, Pacific-bound servicemen toasted their goodbyes to the States here. While less dramatic today than they were back then, evenings spent here are still sentimental, thanks to the romantic atmosphere. Live bands play throughout the week; a jazz pianist on Tuesdays starts at 7pm; salsa on Wednesdays begins with dance lessons at 8pm and the band starts up at 9pm; on Thursdays Stompy Jones brings a swing vibe from 7:30pm; and a dance band playing everything from '50s hits through contemporary music keeps the joint hopping Fridays and Saturdays starting at 9pm. Drinks range from $9 to $12. A $59 three-course fixed-price sunset dinner is served Friday and Saturday at 7:30pm. Sunday brunch, served from 10am to 2pm, costs $59 for adults and includes a glass of champagne; for children 4 to 12, the brunch is $30.

* approximate times

- topofthemark.com

This is a very important link for you John, it lists all the BEST Places to get a Cab...

http://maps.google.com/maps

San Francisco

Best places/streets to catch a taxi cab in San Francisco

13,996 views - Public

Created on Nov 7 - Updated Mar 3

By Mr. Lohan

There's just too much more.... dam it!

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Patricia mumbles...

Posted January 27, 2009
Jetlag prevention: Melatonin. Heaps of it.

Do not drink alcohol on the plane, as opposed to popular belief. It will dehydrate you and give worse jetlag.

On arrival in SFO, just ask for directions' to Pete's Coffee in town.

If you need free wireless, go to Starbucks. I kid you not. Don't bother buying a coffee. Just ask for the WEP key from someone next to you.

In Seattle, great coffee is plentiful. Even the street carts purvey good coffee.

Try the seafood chowder at Pike Place Market. Local speciality.

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Robert would have you know...

Posted January 27, 2009
John, I don't know why these pups queue up to whine about beer in America. You can get just about any kind of brew you desire--bottled or on tap--in the cities in your itinerary. Craft-brew, or microbrew, is all the rage in the metro areas.

Honestly, it's enough to make me think these pasty-faces don't actually circulate in public establishments.

As for the throwaway phone, I believe MetroPCS has service you can purchase by the month. The others want your 2-year contract signed in blood in order to get the phone.

Actually, you probably need only the proper SIM card for the phone you presently have in order to use local services. I think a skip through the darker side of the internet would illuminate this aspect.

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Lobes asserts...

Posted January 27, 2009
The phone I had in the US had no SIM card I think. Or maybe that was Japan... At any rate I wouldnt count on your Oz handset working there with a new SIM. A cheap and nasty throwaway handset is all you need with $50-$100 prepaid credit.

Whenever I check in to fly I just ask the boarding agent if there are any emergency exit row seats available. As long as you're not a cripple they'll put you there. You just have to be prepared to blow the hatches and man the lifeboats if called upon. Might even be useful on the NY leg.

If you're flying into JFK a Taxi to Manhattan will cost $50+. Cheaper way to do it is catch the Airtrain to Jamaica Queens ($5) then take the subway all the way in. Or do what I did and catch the Airport bus ($15) that drops you at Penn Station.

Subway is a good way to get around town but first get yourself a pocket map with the stations marked. Often its just as quick to walk.

City is built on a grid with Avenues running North-South and Streets East-West. Crossing 10 streets equals 1 mile.

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DrYobbo is gonna tell you...

Posted January 27, 2009
Dr Mrs Dr Yobbo was in Berkeley mid last year for an evolution conference. When asked about the quality of coffee she went very quiet and ashen faced and took on the haunted look of a recently repatriated war refugee. I realised she'd seen horrors unimagined by man, woman or donkey, and let it slip.

I have no insights for jet lag other than get your head down and figure the first two days will feel like the dead-on-yer-feet bit of a hangover. My Piss Head Degree supervisor who toured the world and elsewhere on account of being quite apparently shit hot had a scientific approach to jet lag prevention which involved the careful combination of melatonin, alcohol and antihistamines (the latter as a mild sedative.) Bollocks that up and you'll know about it, but apparently when it goes well, it goes very well.

The only Septic beer I know of which doesn't deserve spiral-punting into a skip is Sam Adams, but of the corporate beer factory offerings I've heard OK things about Schlitz, don't know how widely available it is. Most of the Americans I know are Texans and drink Mexican beer.

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tygertim is gonna tell you...

Posted January 28, 2009
Sure cure for Jet Lag... Go to the nearest bar and order a shot of EVERCLEAR... used to be you could only buy it in Nevada or Montana (the home of REAL Men).... Oh, and ONLY one shot... as it's like Grappa, (250 proof) my best friend in high school Rob, used to carry a fifth in his trunk as emergency fuel for his Ford Fairlane. Claimed it cleaned his carburetor. I bet it did. And him too.

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Sturt mumbles...

Posted January 28, 2009
Fer chrissakes, please please PLEASE do not - under any circumstances - lay on the ocker affectation. While most Aussie blokes passing through the US think a liberal smattering of "crikey", "strewth" and "onya" is a short cut to getting a leg over a flighty divorcee, or becoming the most popular guy in a bar full of strangers, most Americans are familiar enough with Australians to wonder why it is we feel compelled to play up our bumpkinish image in the company of foreigners. In truth, laying on the ocker has the opposite effect of its intention - it gives most Americans license to look down on us as less cultured and sophisticated than them, rather than letting us think we're putting something over them (which is harder than their stereotype would have you believe). They're just too polite to tell us.

Can I ask you JB, for the sake of our national reputation, to put your game face on. Our reputation among ourselves for sardonic wit, irony and the occasional outrage is constantly undermined here by the phalanxes of witless hoons who pile off QF108 in LA and think they're advancing cultural diplomacy by pretending to be Barry McKenzie.

Tips:

Seattle - eat lunch at Salumi (309 Third Ave S, Seattle) run by the father of Mario Batali (rotund bloodnut American Italian celebrity chef of Food Network fame)

New York - publisher paying: Joel Robuchon or Daniel Bouloud. JB paying: Le Singe Vert (The Green Monkey) 160 7th Ave in Chelsea. Both: outstanding French.

As someone who's lived here for 10 years, there are no easy solutions to the existential dilemmas posed by American coffee and beer (other than amphetamines and whiskey).

If you don't go a day without being totally smacked upside the head by the counterintuitiveness of American customs, either your publisher has you in a very effective cocoon or you're not paying attention.

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Lobes swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 28, 2009
LoL, Sturt for comment of the day!

JB ya better leave the khakis and pack a few skivvys instead.

In my experience the worst Australian expats are always Adelaide Crows fans. Seems it doesnt matter where in the world you are theres always some drunk f*ckwit in a Crows jersey acting the goose.

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John Birmingham mutters...

Posted January 28, 2009
Duly noted, although it's been a long time since I played the yob. That'd be havock's gig.

My dining will be a mix of JB and publisher funded, so I may check out all the recommendations.

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