Amoeblog

Pour one out for the Cat & Fiddle -- another pub lost in the Southland

Posted by Eric Brightwell, October 20, 2014 03:54pm | Post a Comment
Sports Bar
Somewhere I don't want to be


If in the bar of your dreams every centimeter of wall (and ceiling) space is covered with banks of televisions flashing seizure-inducing commercials unblinkingly stared at by backwards-capped man-children guzzling plastic pitchers of thin macrobrew between failed attempts to scream over the top of deafening sports commentary, then you’re in luck because there are still about 2,000 places that fit that bill in Hollywood alone. If you enjoy waiting 45 minutes for a man dressed as a 19th century Canadian lumberjack to rub a mason jar with the entire contents of a spice rack then you're similarly set. 

Alan Partridge Ladyboy
Ooohhh, Ladyboys!

On the other hand, if the happy haze of your drunken hour involves sitting in a cozy corner, enjoying a round of ladyboys and perhaps playing a game of darts (or pool, skittles, dominoes, cards, or trivia) --  then you’re going to have to either broaden your horizons or let your dream die because sadly, The Cat & Fiddle is closing on 15 December after 32 years in business -- and English pubs in the Southland are becoming rarer than rain during a superdrought.

"Raiders of The Lost Ark" screening in Dolores Park Kicks Off Film Night in the Park Free Summer Series

Posted by Billyjam, June 13, 2013 11:23am | Post a Comment

This Saturday night marks the continuation of a Bay Area summer tradition of free outdoor movies in parks in San Francisco and Marin: the always free Film Night In The Park series. The series, which began last weekend with a screening of Chasing Ice at the Fairfax EcoFest,  kicks into full gear this Saturday evening at 8pm (or dusk) with a free screening in San Francisco's Dolores Park of Raiders of The Lost Ark (trailer below of this 1981 Steven Spielberg fantasy adventure flick) - projected onto a huge screen with the perfect backdrop of the San Francisco skyline. Attendees are invited to bring picnics and blankets (no chairs so as to not block views) and advised to arrive early to secure a good vantage point. Also bring warm clothes in case that pesky SF fog descends on the hillside park - Dolores and 19th, San Francisco's Mission District.

All screenings are free but "donations are accepted" according to the organizers of this wonderful series that will include such films as Martin Scorsese's recent Hugo in Old Mill Park in Mill Valley on June 21st, School Of Rock with Jack Black at Creek Park in San Anselmo on July 19th, and Woody Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona in Union Square San Francisco on July 13th where on August 17th the American musical classic Singin' In The Rain will screen. Other scheduled screenings in the upcoming Film Night In The Park 2013 series, that concludes on September 21 with a screening of Skyfall in Dolores Park, will include The Avengers in Creek Park, San Anselmo, Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom in San Francisco's Washington Square Park on September 7th, and The Birds in China Camp in San Rafael, Marin County - screening at the beach at Chinese Village which is the perfect setting for this 1963 Hitchcock suspense classic that was filmed not too far from there in Bodega Bay in the next county over from Marin, Sonoma County.
 

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THE BEAUTY OF THE SONOMA COAST STATE BEACHES

Posted by Billyjam, April 22, 2008 02:15pm | Post a Comment
   

Engage any former Bay Area resident in conversation for long enough and odds are that in short time the talk will turn to what they miss most about living in the unique and special place that is the Bay Area region of Northern California.  And one of the things that most folks who used to live in the Bay Area seem to miss most is the easy access to so many breathtakingly beautiful, scenic, peaceful places - all within a relatively close distance and time from San Francisco and the East Bay.

These numerous scenic getaway destinations include the recommended spectacular and dramatic Sonoma coastline, specifically the State-owned, public-access Sonoma Coast State Beaches that stretch for many miles north of Bodega Bay alongside Highway 1. 
This recommended day trip from the Bay (about an hour and a half drive north from SF if traffic is light) offers a breathtaking rugged Pacific coastline dotted with beautiful beaches and great trails (of all lengths) that are wonderful to hike along -- and all open to public access. 

This stretch of NorCal coastline is ideal for beach-combing, tidepool exploration, sea lion and bird observing, whale watching (January through May), reading, writing, painting, taking pictures, or (for idle fun) trying to find faces embedded in patterns in the numerous dramatic rock formations (like the face in the rock left), or simply relaxing and meditating while listening to the soothing sounds of the crashing ocean waves. Note that swimming is not advised since the ocean is very rough with rogue waves aplenty.

This time of the year is one the best times to go since in the summer months fog tends to stick around a lot longer every day.  If possible make the trip on a weekday and avoid weekends, when most folks seem to make the day trip from the Bay.  One recent week I made the trip on a weekday, arriving early in the morning, to find entire beaches (including Shell Beach which is a little bit of a hike down to it) deserted of other human life. Sure, a few hikers will show up here and there but you are likely to find a peaceful refuge nearly all to yourself.

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