Cheeseburger Gothic

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 is gonna tell you...

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 puts forth...

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 mumbles...

Posted February 1, 2009
Holy shit. Lucky bastard.

Eat a New York pizza for me.

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Orin asserts...

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 asserts...

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

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Abe mutters...

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 swirls their brandy and claims...

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 swirls their brandy and claims...

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

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Flinthart would have you know...

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 ducks in to say...

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 swirls their brandy and claims...

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

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beeso is gonna tell you...

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

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Murphy mumbles...

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 asserts...

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

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Lobes puts forth...

Posted February 2, 2009

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Lobes reckons...

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 mumbles...

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 reckons...

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 mutters...

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 mutters...

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 mumbles...

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

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Brian would have you know...

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 is gonna tell you...

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 ducks in to say...

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 has opinions thus...

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 has opinions thus...

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 ducks in to say...

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 has opinions thus...

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 puts forth...

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

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HAVOCK reckons...

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 ducks in to say...

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 ducks in to say...

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

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mckinneytexas mutters...

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 would have you know...

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 would have you know...

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 reckons...

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 swirls their brandy and claims...

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 has opinions thus...

Posted February 3, 2009
Yeah, wives do that.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan puts forth...

Posted February 3, 2009
And thank God.

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mckinneytexas swirls their brandy and claims...

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

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tygertim puts forth...

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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