A few more notes to wrap up my Bay Area trip.

I want to go on record as being extremely thankful the good folks at the Starbucks at DFW gave me a fully leaded coffee last night, rather than the decaf I asked for. Thanks to them, I was still awake at 3:00 this morning. That’s the way you want to end a trip in which you’ve been sleep deprived to begin with. So I’ve been a little slow today, and unable to get much work done, or wrap up the pieces I started on the plane and hoped to publish today.

39 degrees when I pulled into the garage last night.

Does anyone age better than an attractive Asian woman?

I visited a client that’s right in the middle of Chinatown Wednesday. I’ve been to Chinatown several times, but it’s been around ten years since my last visit. Forget the regular culture shock going from a city the size of Kansas City or Indianapolis to San Francisco. Chinatown can completely throw the unassuming Midwesterner off his bearings. The air is thick with the smells of open-air markets and open windowed restaurants. The sidewalks are crammed with people, almost all Asian, who live, shop, and work in the same area, walking as suburbanites drive to the places they visit on a daily basis. There are special traffic signals that basically declare a pedestrian free-for-all for 30 seconds. All traffic stops and people flood every from every direction, clogging the intersection with foot traffic. For that half-minute, you feel like you’re in Hong Kong or Shanghai, not the US.

Streetlight banners seen in Berkeley: Protest Speeding: Drive 25. Talk about tailoring a public service announcement to your community!

On a sunny day, there’s no more beautiful city than San Francisco. I took a long drive Tuesday evening that was classic Bay Area. I left my hotel, where it was sunny and 70 and drove west, into the hills on the Peninsula. I climbed, the terrain changing from brown tidal lands to green, mountainous forest. The fog peeked ominously from the top of the hills. By the time I descended into Half Moon Bay, the sun was completely obscured, and the temperature had fallen into the 50s. I had gone from a metropolitan area of seven million to a rural area where pumpkin farms and signs for homegrown vegetables dominated the landscape. All in less than 30 minutes. Forget the ethnic and cultural diversity in the area; there may be no big city in this country where you can jump from urban to rural as quickly as in San Francisco-San Jose.
I drove to the ocean and braved the winds to walk out to the shore. I looked north, towards the city, and while I wouldn’t have seen anything on a clear day, I saw nothing but dark drapes of fog. Here I was, on the edge of one of the biggest metropolitan areas of the country, and I felt like the closest person was on the other side of the Pacific in Japan or Eastern Russia. 45 minutes later, I was back in the sun and urban traffic. It was eerie and amazing at the same time.

Total round-trip mileage to eat In ‘n Out Burger for lunch Tuesday: 41 miles.

Forget Iraq, the economy, and his administration possibly sharing highly confidential information with the press. The fact the Chicago Cubs are a in the playoffs and playing well is as sure a sign as any that America is headed down the wrong path with George W. Bush in the White House. Consider this: the last time the Cubs were in the playoffs, in 1998, President Clinton was impeached a year later. If I was George, I would do everything in my power to “remove” the Cubs from the playoffs, lest he be punished at the polls next year. Sammy Sosa might want to keep his bats under lock-and-key for a few days.

Am I surprised Rush Limbaugh got himself into hot water on ESPN? No. Am I surprised he’s blaming the rest of the media for blowing things out of proportion? Not at all. We all knew something like this would happen. I honestly thought it would come when Michael Irvin said something crazy and Rush couldn’t help but respond in his typical sanctimonious tone. Jim Rome summed it up well: Rush may not be a racist, and that may not have been his intention, but when you phrase something the way he did, you can’t help but think, “What else does he think/have to say?” To me the real point is he had a ridiculous argument to begin with. Donovan McNabb has been in three pro bowls, and finished second in the MVP balloting once. He may have been having a crappy season, but to say he’s an overrated player who’s never performed shows that Rush either had an agenda he’s been waiting to air (Shocking! I thought it was only liberals in the media who had agendas!) or he clearly doesn’t know much about football. Rush’s resignation has allowed him to retreat to his radio show, where he can continue to blame others without opposition and more importantly, avoid further tarnishing his image by spending more Sundays proving he knows little about the game.