Honeymoon With My Honey – Part 5

Saturday – It was the last day of our honeymoon, and Cora caught me with another woman. And I didn't feel guilty at all.

Saturday morning, Cora's sister gave birth to our niece.

  • Aside from Mom, Dad, & the nurses, I was the first person to hold her.
  • Apparently, the baby is had decided that she prefers "bottle" over "B(.)(.)B". (Personally, I would give up the bottle for the B(.)(.)B any time.)
  • Not gonna name names, but I do question what they were thinking. The child has the phonetic "ASS" in her name. Really? You give a kid a name where an EASY nickname is "ASS"? Her big brother's gonna have to lay down some serious law at school.

We spent a some time with the baby, and the S-I-L & the B-I-L until it was feeding time and we went off to the cafeteria for lunch. Oh, and the S-I-L was going to try again to nurse the baby, too.

Aspen-03We tracked down the circus that was also in town to see the newest member of the clan. As we are shuffling the kids back one-at-a-time to see the baby, Cora is out in the waiting room and suddenly all I hear is, "We've got to go. NOW!" and she rushes off to the elevator.

Confused, I trail behind her (I've been told as a husband, to get use to it!), but notice the she's got her hand over her heart. "Odd time to be saying the Pledge of Allegiance" I thought. In the elevator, Cora explained. She had just suffered a catastrophic 'wardrobe malfunction' of the Janet Jackson kind. One of the little hard plastic "O" rings that secured her strap to the back of her dress broke. Luckily, no one got flashed (YEAH) not even me (BOO). As we hustled out to the car, I macgyvered it well enough for Cora to be able to drive in without steaming me up too much.Cora-and-Eric-Olive-Garden

That didn't last long, because she then put on this little orange number and took me to the mall to spend some gift cards. Some VICTORIA'S SECRET gift cards. :-)

After wandering thru there and imagining my beautiful and shapely wife in all those little bits of lycra and lace, we found our selves back at Olive Garden for dinner. And I still had a smile on my face.

Sunday – Sadly, it was airport day. And the last time that I've seen Cora since. We arrived just as the place was flooded with people getting off cruise ships and ending their 4th of July vacation weeks. We stood in the normal checking of Southwest, but it was long and wasn't moving, so we hopped out to the Skycap. Lucky timing. While it still took maybe 20 minutes, the line had more than doubled while we were in it. And the line inside? Had wrapped around and was back by security. Eventually, it would make a complete 360° look around the check-in desk. And security was a mess, too, so there was no time for our usual 800 kisses good-bye. I eventually make it thru security, and Cora takes off. My last sight of her is her curly red hair, bouncing down a hallway.

And that was it.

Honeymoon over.

Real life beginning,

Currently, (Cora and Gwen) and I are living 2086 miles apart, waiting for the okay to move. That should come in early August. There will still be more court junk that Cora (and Gwen?) will have to fly back for, but right now, I'd rather wake up holding my wife and taking long walks after dinner with my wife and daughter. Those days will be here, soon, I know, but I still miss them.

Enough of the sad talk – Next week, Scope-Tech will take up an entirely different theme.


Just A Quick One Today


Not a lot of time tonight, and only one story left to tell before the honeymoon is over, so I want to stretch it out a little.

I saw this card in my local card shop. Made me laugh, but had to add the "Oh, Facebook or Twitter?" line myself. I dedicate this to all the blogger alumni out there. Gone but not forgotten.


Honeymoon With My Honey – Part 4

Thursday – Last full day in San Francisco: We awoke on our last full day in San Fran:

  1. Invigorated and ready to take on the day refreshed and renewed.
  2. Still exhausted, and really wanting to just stay curled up in bed.

But we soldiered on, fortified by a little cold pizza. (Some pizza holds up well the next day, this did not.) Off we went back over to Fisherman's Warf for our bay tour.

Those of you unfamiliar with San Francisco may have some kind of "fun in the sun" / sunny California images in your brain. WRONG! The place was cold. I knew that going in, and brought long sleeved shirts, expecting upper 60°s to low 70°s. BEEP! Think again. 50°s. And wet. And breezy. On our first day, I bought the black sweatshirt you see me in in a lot of the pictures. I could have gone to one of those souvenir shops and gotten one with cable cars and the Golden Gate Bridge on it and stuff, paid a ton, and have it shrink to "Cora Size" on the first washing, which would be okay, because I hate wearing stuff with writing, and I would never wear it again. Or, I could just go into Macy's and hit the men's wear department for a $14.99 thick, well made, black Champion sweatshirt that I will wear regularly. Easy decision.

Fisherman's-Warf-01We roll around to Fisherman's Warf fairly early to get our bay cruise in. (It was part of the 'City Pass' tickets.) We get a seat (I am a daily mass transit rider. I can out maneuver an Iowa farmer for a seat for the Mrs. before he even knows what hit him.)


Now, I don't know if you are familiar with Fisherman's Warf or not, so let me explain it to you. In most big cities, there's a tourist attraction / tourist trap that is famous for being famous, and doesn't really serve it's original purpose too much any more, but just enough to show the out-of-towners. And it is filled with all the novelty and kitsch shops? In Chicago, that's Navy Pier. In San Francisco, that's Fisherman's Warf. Sure, there's some cool stuff like that statue of the sealions that Cora is looking through, but there's a ton of crap, too.

We board the boat, and climb up to the top. What can be nicer than a pleasant day out cruising the bay on July 8th. Does this look like July 8th to you?

But the cruise didn't disappoint. While it was cold and gray, it was still well worth it.

Golden-Gate-Bride-02 Golden-Gate-Bride-01
The cruise is an hour long, and takes you out and under the Golden Gate Bridge,
and past Alcatraz. "The Rock". You get pretty close, and you can see from this video.

After the cruise, and while we enjoyed it, trust me, we were both ready to get off that boat, we hiked a good distance to catch a bus for the California Academy of Science. It's Green-Roof in Gold Gate Park, out on the other side of the peninsula, toward the Pacific. In route, we got some better views of the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Presidio. From the drop off point, we hiked to the museum, and we were both already starting to run out of gas. We were cold, tired, and hungry. We fixed the cold and hungry part inside, but then went up to see the famous "green roof" that didn't look so green to me. Anyway, that brought the cold back, and then as we walked slowly through the "Extreme Mammals" exhibit, our legs gave out, and we were done. We plotted our route home. I know I've used the word 'cold' a lot today. I think it may have been 50° out there. We saw people waiting for the bus with us wearing winter gloves. And you didn't look at them like they were idiots, you thought "Hey…. Where do I get those?"

Anyway, a couple transfers and a healthy exposure to the "diversity of culture" that is public transportation at about 3:00 pm on a Thursday, we made it back to the hotel. Wiped-out and a little sad that the honeymoon was waning, we started packing up. But we had one last dinner, and we decided to make the last dinner of our honeymoon the first dinner of our courtship: Cheesecake Factory!

We were both craving salt. Cora had Sir-Francis-Drake-Nightthe teriyaki chicken (which started a string of 3 out of 4 meals, counting breakfast, that she had teriyaki chicken), and I had a margarita. Dinner as good as always. I snapped this night time view of the hotel, and then we went back and crashed like the dead.

Friday – Sadly, Friday came. I can promise you a certain wife of mine would have been happy to stay off in vacation land, but the real world was calling. We made the most of our morning, though. The hotel was running a deal that if you opt out of made service, you get a $10 voucher good for one of their restaurants. We opted out 2 nights, so we had $20 worth of vouchers, and spent $25 (with tip) on breakfast! It was then down to the Embarcadero for a little more photo shooting.

But, one last cable car ride, and it was time to take the BART back to Oakland for our short hop to Seattle. We had lunch in the Subway restaurant at the airport.

Cora had the teriyaki chicken.

On the flight back, we watched the first half of 'Wall-E'. When we landed, my father-in-law and his wife picked us up at SEA-TAC and took us to dinner.

Cora had the teriyaki chicken.

It was so hot in Seattle, that we hauled Cora's mattress down to the basement of her house, and slept on the floor.

And that wraps up that phase of the honeymoon. But fear not, Saturday is just as eventful, as I meet my new niece, and Cora goes "Janet Jackson" in the hospital waiting room.

And here are some random shots from Thursday & Friday. Yes, the one is green screened, J.J. :-)



One of the best parts about telling this story on the blog is that it has allowed me to relive it. Day by day. And it makes the separation not hurt quite as much.



Honeymoon With My Honey – Part 3

Wednesday – Wednesday was a quiet morning. At least to start. We went to a little restaurant across the street called "Sears Fine Food". I was sort of expecting a dive diner, but the place was nice, and the food was pretty good. We didn't really have a lot planned for the morning which is good, because well, we had to take a little side trip. It's much more Cora's story than mine, so head over to HER BLOG and I'm sure she'll be telling it soon.

WMH-02 WMH-01
Above: We walked down California to where my company has an office, and I tried to get pictures of both flapping at the same time, but no dice. (And I think THIS was actually when we took the cable car ride.)

Left: Who has 2 thumbs and is the luckiest groom around? THIS FELLA!

We had such a big breakfast, that we weren't really interested in lunch, but we got some snacks for the bus, because we were off to the Winchester Mystery House. For those of you who are too lazy to click the link, the Winchester Mystery House (WMH) is a fabulous intersection of "Money" and "Bat-shit Crazy". Located in San Jose (yes, I know the way), it's at the southern end of the San Francisco Bay, and a little over an hour from downtown San Fran, at least in the light traffic we had. Only one company runs tours from SF to the WMH, and we had our seats booked already. The bus showed up on time, and whisked us all around SF to various hotels, picking us up for their different tours. This nice, big comfortable bus dropped us off at their hub, and we transferred to a tiny, cramped bus, that I was too tall to sit in properly. But, there were only 10 or 12 of us, so no big deal, I take up two seats and sit sideways so my legs fit.

We got to the Winchester Mystery House, and the driver went in and bought tickets for every one. Then he told us we had 2 hours, and to meet back at the bus at 5:05. This gave us some time before the tour and after the tour to see the gardens and out buildings. Since pictures aren't allowed inside (gotta sell the guide books, ya know), this was our photo ops.

WMH-03 Winchster Mystery House Mystery #1: Will those girls in the blue shirts who were on out bus ride down play a bigger role in this story?
WMH-04 Winchster Mystery House Mystery #2: What's up with the spider web windows? They were all over. Including one that was never installed designed by Tiffany. Not the company. The ACTUAL GUY!
WMH-05 Winchster Mystery House Mystery #3: Why do I like taking pictures like this? You will notice I love taking pictures of things framed by objects in the foreground.
WMH-06 Winchster Mystery House Mystery #4: Did you notice the door on the upper right? It's called "The Door To Nowhere." Exit it from the room upstairs, and you will be hurt very badly. Sara Winchester got all her architectural plans from spirits at séances, so maybe there was an eventual plan for it, but we'll never know. UNTIL WE PASS OVER TO THE OTHER SIDE!
WMH-07 Winchster Mystery House Mystery #5: What the hell is that PURPLE ORB!?!?!?!
WMH-08 Winchster Mystery House Mystery #6: What's so weird about this picture? It's a mystery to me, too.
WMH-09 Winchster Mystery House Mystery #7: I'm certain there's a really good visual pun here, but what it is remains a mystery.
WMH-10 Winchster Mystery House Mystery #8: If we are there, who took our picture? (Maybe the girls in blue?)

And where is your bag, Scope? Oh, it's on the bus, so I don't have to lug it around.

After that shot, we took a quick potty break (none on the micro-bus) and Cora spent 30 seconds picking out some postcards. We made it to the bus stop @ 5:06

Winchster Mystery House Mystery #9: Where in the hell is our bus?

I believe my exact words were, "That did FUCKING so just not happen." We panicked, and looked all around. No where to be seen. Oh, and my bags on there, too! (And I want to thank all of my Facebook friends for their concern. When I posted: "Biggest mystery @ Winchester Mystery House? Where's my bus?" I think I got maybe one response!)

Blackberry to the rescue! Cora remembered the name of the sight seeing company, I googled them, got their number and called them. The call log on the phone reports that I made that call at 5:09. So when I say we were a minute late, we may have been a minute EARLY, because that's a lot of phases to go thru in 3 minutes! I told the guy who answered, "Hi, we're on the Winchester Mystery House Tour, and I think we've been left." Instantly on hold. When he comes back, he tells me that the driver is turning around for us. Okay, maybe we were late, but we were within the margin of error.

  • There were only 10 or so of us, and the driver bought the tickets, so he knew the proper count.
  • The bitches in the blue shirts had taken our pictures 5 minutes before.
  • I am 6'5" 290 lbs and wearing the single most obnoxious shirt on the planet.
    I'm hard to miss!

Anyway, it seems like it takes forever, but the bus does come back for us, and as a bonus, drops us off first. I would definitely go back, but I would take the "behind the scenes" tour, not the regular one. Oh, and I would rent a car for the day!

After that excitement, we decide to dine easy. Pizza. Once again, I use the Blackberry to find a nearby spot. Our two choices are Blondie's and Uncle Vito's. I'd remembered walking by Uncle Vito's once, and while we had walked past Blondie's a couple of times, couldn't remember it, so Uncle Vito's it was.

As we walked up, we saw these two characters sitting in a window seat:

Yeah, probably should have warned you about that picture. Sorry. :-)

Anyway, we order our pepperoni and sausage pizza and Cora, being a good blogger, goes out to take their picture while I wait at the table. She comes back about instantly. I let her out of my sight for 2 minutes, and she gets harassed by a street person! I go out to punch his lights out try my luck at taking a picture. I stand in front of them, and am obvious about taking scenery shots, and then sort of turn toward them to take a picture. And they totally invite me to take their picture and ham it up with big smiles.

The pizza itself was pretty good, but not great. We took a few slices home for breakfast the next day.

Then it was back to Walgreens for out pop & water for the night, and preparing for our last full day in San Francisco.


Honeymoon With My Honey – Part 2

Tuesday – Tuesday dawns, and I go to rummage some grub while Cora gets ready. I head out and punch "McDonald's" into Google Maps, and had a gut feeling that it wasn't right. It took me down Powell to Market, and then right (west). This is taking me into "the Tenderloin" which is NOT where I want to really be walking. But there could be one there, so I keep walking. Blindly following directions, I end up at "MacDonald's Book Store".

Great. I bust my @$$ back up Market to where I know one is right by the Palace Hotel. It was at this point that I begin to regret not putting on socks, as my new shoes are starting to rub my heal. On the walk, I call Cora to tell her that I will be a tad late, and that I asked at the front desk, and that the hair dryer was hidden in a bag on the back of the bathroom door. Fetching the victual, I return up Post, and had to take my heal out of the shoe to finish the walk. Got back to the room as Cora was finishing up getting ready. A quick shower, some band-aids for the foot, and off we go…

To the lobby, where the concierge hooked us up with the San Francisco City Pass, and tickets for the Winchester Mystery House tour bus on Wednesday. The City Pass is a coupon booklet ($68 each) that has coupons admissions to some museums, a bay cruise, and most importantly, unlimited rides on city buses, trolley cars, and cable cars. To get the booklet, we had to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Tuesday was their "Free Day" so we didn't end up using our pass there.

HM-01 HM-02 On our walk there, we saw these great sculptures by Ugo Rondinone. The first one looks like Alec Baldwin in "Beetlejuice" and the second one looks like "Oogie Boogie" from "The Nightmare Before Christmas". I think my new daughter's Tim Burton addiction is starting to rub off. While there, we also saw a security guard roust one of the homeless who was trying to set up camp on the nearby benches.

(THIS GUY, Scott Beale, has some cool shots over at Laughing Squid)

Aside from the huge, porcelain figurine of Michael Jackson:

FYI – This sculpture was created BEFORE Michael died, not after. Post mortem, it would have made an entirely different artistic statement about our society and its relationship to its celebrities.

(So, I had to do it myself in Photoshop.)
Once again, so lifelike with the skin!

A detailed shot of one of the flowers by his feet.

There were some other cool things that my wife took all the pictures of :-(. You'll have to see her blog to see if she posts them.

But since I was already playing with a new technique in Photoshop, here's a fairly uncomfortable chair made of of little bits of wood all hammered together.


Transit pass in hand, we left the SFMOMA and I have no idea who these people are.  This is from my 2005 trip.headed to get some food. We hopped on one of the streetcars (not cable car, they're different) that took us past the tourist traps of Fisherman's Warf, and on to The Cannery. We ate @ Las Margaritas. I have been to San Francisco twice before and both times had dined there, so it seemed fitting to take my new wife there. We had some pretty good Mexican food while the staff was engrossed in the Netherlands vs. Uruguay World Cup semi-final match. When the Netherlands went up 3-1, with goals at the 70 and 73 minute marks, our wait staff became more attentive. We didn't mind at all. But The Canary seemed a lot more dead than it had on previous trips. It's a nice place, located right between Fisherman's Warf and Ghirardelli Square, it should have been buzzing. But it was Tuesday at noon.

Bellies somewhat full, we marched on to the afore mentioned Ghirardelli Square. I'm married to a chocolate fiend. It's gonna happen.

Along the way, we caught a glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge, peaking out of the clouds.

But my little chocolate lover would not be swayed, and on we went.


We poked around the shops, bought some post cards and Christmas ornaments for OUR TREE, and then both had wonderful ice cream deserts.

That almost fortified me for what was about to happen to me.

Hyde street.

To those of you unfamiliar with Hyde Street in San Francisco, let me explain:

It runs at about a 45% angle. Oh, I'm sure people will tell you that is not nearly that steep. We call those people "filthy lyres". They really should install ropes along the sidewalk to help pull yourself up. "Well, why didn't you ride a cable car up there, ya big dummy?" The waiting line for the trip is unbelievable, plus, then I would have nothing to bitch about. We climbed as far up as the world famous Lombard St.

I am a sad & lonely girl.  Please kind stranger, take my picture.  Remember I lived.

After Lombard St. we lost our precious elevation and heaNot ded into the Italian section of the city. We (I) rested for a while in the park across from Saints Peter & Paul's church for a bus that would take us to the top of Telegraph Hill and to Coit Tower. The bus took us to a very high point, but didn't make any announcement, and headed back down hill. Cora and I bailed out, walked back up to the summit and shot some pictures before trekking up the path to Coit Tower. And seeing the bus stop right in front of it.

Saint's Peter & Paul's Church Coit Tower
Alcatraz Flag!  Eagle!
Bay Bridge Bay Bridge

Fairly exhausted, we did what any sane people would do, we walk the mile back on Stockton to the hotel. Mostly. A great deal of the walk was thru China Town, where Cora and I couldn't help but monkey around a little. And then we took a cable car up California to Powell so we could be sure we got our ride in.

Touch No Evil Cora Collins - Monkey Kisser
HM-China-Town-Gate HM-Les-Joulim's-Jazz-Bistro

We finished the night with dinner at Les Joulin's Jazz Bistro, and a stop off @ our Walgreen's for provisions (water, pop, breakfast snacks, tape for the raw spot on my heal, etc.) before calling it a night. We did a lot of sight seeing, and a lot of walking. Killed ourselves the first day, but then planned a much easier day for Wednesday.


What's Up With Facebook?


Seriously?  I actually KNOW about half of these people.  In real life.  Granted, from a long time ago, but still.  For a while there, it was trying to get me in trouble be offering up all the Boston Beauties from "The Candy Bar".  But now, people I know, and I checked, and some of the people I didn't know, I had 3 friends in common with, so it was a good guess.

Keep up the good work, Facebook, and maybe when "Google Me" (Google's rumored social networking site) comes out, you may not be hanging out with MySpace or Friendster.


Honeymoon With My Honey – Part 1

Before heading out for our honeymoon, I want to share with you a couple of things a bit, off kilter, that we saw.

Pigeon-Large Pigeon-Detail
This was at Pioneer Square in Seattle [POST]. My cousin came running over to me and told me I had to see this sign. In case you missed it, it says "PIGEONS TRANSMIT DISEASE.

Much funnier than the "crack" joke also found on the sign.
Hot-Moms-Large Hot-Moms-Detail
I wasn't the first one to see this, either. When we were having dinner at BJ's [POST], someone at the table pointed it out. I hopped up out of my chair (plus about a blogging wife, she gets it) and took a bunch of pictures of the sign, and of the scenery, and then of these two freaks. If the cigarette would have ignited the fumes on her highlights, so she ran around like Michael Jackson in that Pepsi commercial, that would have been EPIC. (Note to teens: Word used correctly.)
Michael-and-Bubbles-02 Michael-and-Bubbles-01Grrrr… This is totally out of sequence, but I cannot leave that Michael Jackson reference hanging there without pointing out this porcelain beauty we was at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. I believe my exact word were, "Oh my GOD! That's the biggest Jack Daniels decanter I have ever seen in my LIFE!"

How they got his skin so lifelike is EERIE!

We took our honeymoon just down the coast in San Francisco. We flew into the Oakland airport to save a little $$$ (Like $200. A flight. Each!) vs. flying into San Francisco. The distance to downtown via the Bart is roughly the same, and it's a smaller, easier airport to get around in. WIN! WIN! WIN! As this was our honeymoon, and first flight together, we popped "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" into my netbook's external drive, plugged in the earphone 'Y' splitter, and watched about half the movie on the 2 hour flight down.

We stayed at the Sir Francis Drake on Union Square. Great location. Great deal. Nice, old hotel. We schlepped our bags uphillStolen from website from Powel / Market and as we got near, we could see the doorman in his "Beefeater" outfit. Cora started to get excited. When we entered the lobby, I could swear I heard a slight gasp. The lobby was very nice, filled with the marble and iron work and gold leaf that you would expect from a classic, fine hotel. But I hadn't exactly let Cora in on the fact that we were staying someplace like that. Gotta try to impress the wife any way you can, right guys?

Anyhow, we ditched our stuff in our room, and headed back out for some light sightseeing and dinner. I have been to San Fran twice before, so in general, I knew my way around. Plus, I had a map. Plus, I have GPS enabled Google Maps on my Blackberry.

We wandered around Yerba Buena Gardens for a bit, and while my wife was happily snapping away with her camera, it turns out, I only took one shot:

But, we started to loose our light, and our steam, so we had a bite to eat @ Johnny Foley's Irish House before returning to the hotel. (We stopped at Walgreen first to get some bottled water for the room. No way we're paying mini-bar prices!)

We're not old. No way. We just knew (well I did) how much walking we would be doing the next day.