Tuesday, July 8, 2008

San Francisco trip, HANCOCK review

Alright! I just got back from a fantastic six-day trip to San Francisco for a Smart Marriages conference. The top minds in the field of family studies (and marriage and family therapy) gave seminars over four days at the Hilton, and hundreds (thousands?) attended. I myself attended some fascinating seminars on "hot monogamy" (sex in marriage), the portrayal of marriage and family in the media, emotionally-focused therapy, stepparenting, and more. I learned a lot, but I also had time for plenty o' fun!

I arrived Wednesday night and relaxed. Thursday I had some killer Vietnamese food for lunch with my friend Mallory and my professors Scott and Tommy (deep friend banana with vanilla ice cream for dessert. Fantastic). That night, a big group of us took a limo to Pier 39 (limo was actually cheaper than taxis when there were ten of us) for terrific sea food at Neptunes.

We saw big fat seals (or are they sea lions?) chilling on the pier. Pier 39 has a bunch of shops, as well as a Captain Jack pirate show. Pretty sweet.

Friday night was the 4th of July. We had pizza and drinks in the hotel room of Amy and Stan (a coworker and her husband). I had a Martinelli's apple cider. Didn't need no booze to get crazy. My friends, however, did, if only to get to my level of shameless, embarrassing behavior.

We drove out in a limo (again) to the harbor, where we gathered with hundreds for the fireworks show.

It was foggy in the harbor, but the fireworks were still awesome, as they lit up the fog. It looked like a battleground. I did find it ironic, watching the symbols of freedom erupt just above Alcatraz.

Saturday night we all walked over to Chinatown, which I hear is the best Chinatown in the U.S. It didn't dissappoint. I did embarrass myself at the restaurant, though. The food was fantastic (even if the fowl did still have their heads attached), but...well, I do not think that all Asians look alike. Not by a long shot. Which is why it's so shamefully embarassing that I asked a guy for our check who wasn't at all the waiter who'd been serving us for an hour. Oops.

There were all sorts of shops with decorations, clothing, traditional weapons, parade dragon heads, etc, etc, etc. My favorite was this big guy doing a "Rocky at the top of the steps." I call him Buddah Balboa.

Sunday I walked two miles to Church. It was a gorgeous, two-story building built on a hill, with big windows on one side overlooking a flowergarden. Too bad the meetings (normally at 9 am and noon) were combined that day, so when I showed up for church at noon, it was over! Oh well, the Lord blesses you for trying. Then I totally broke the Sabbath and bought a day pass for the cablecars. I spent the next few hours hopping from car to car, seeing the city.

The LDS Church in San Francisco

That afternoon I returned to find my friend and roommate Charles on his bed, looking tired. "Dude," he said, "I just got back from the gayest Church meeting I've ever been to." I replied: "Like, it was lame?" He said: "No, that wasn't a figure of speech. It literally was a gay church!" He went on invite from someone at the conference without knowing what he was getting into. He told me that the men had made aprons for a fundraiser and had modeled them during the service. The pastor went on to preach about God being a woman and spent 15 minutes blasting the Iraq war. Man, people sure interpret the Bible differently, don't they?

Anyway, Charles and I went to see the Golden Gate Bridge. We walked across it (it was refreshingly cool and windy), saw the pelicans, marvelled at the structure, and at the ships passing hundreds of feet below. Charles had a close call with a skunk. We saw this sign above a phone on the bridge, and it made us laugh (though it is quite serious).

Anyway, I'm back in Auburn now. Next week: Family reunion!


In short...it was good. Not great. Not even close to great. But entertaining. Any movie that has Will Smith playing off of Jason Bateman (Arrested Development) has something good going for it right off of the bat. Some decent story development, some unexpected drama, some solid action, quite a bit of good comedy. This is the type of movie that doesn't leave a lasting impression. Twenty minutes later, you're not still thinking about it (Wall*E, in contrast, was on my mind for days after). However, if you've seen everything else worth seeing and need a movie/entertainment fix, you won't go wrong here. However, if you're struggling to make it out to the theatre and/0r are saving your dollar for the best, I recommend Iron Man, Kung-Fu Panda, Wall*E, or the upcoming The Dark Knight. This is a rental for you. Will Smith, as always, is highly watchable, Jason Bateman is fantastically dry, and Charlize Theron has a role that will suprise you. *** (out of five). Rated PG-13 for profanity (one f-word which is, I'm sad to admit, pretty funny, and plenty of uses of "a-hole," and violence. Sexual content is a nonissue.)


Kelsey said...

I'm so glad that you enjoyed San Fran! And, you ate at Neptune's AND got awfully close to Ft. Point... I'd like to think on my recommendation maybe? Haha.

Can't wait to see ya next Sunday... It'll be good to take you for a REAL ride in the Mini!! Up the Canyon maybe?

The Scotts said...

Fun times in San Fran Spud! Great pictures and I would have loved to seen the gay church models!! See ya soon!

Tim and Jennifer said...

San Fran is such an interesting place to have a conference like that...

The Driggs said...

Cool picture of the fireworks. That's too bad that you missed going to church...maybe you should have joined Charles for that day. That story was hilarious! I would've loved to see the aprons! And yes, although serious, that sign above the Golden Gate bridge is hilarious. Anywho, can't wait to see you in a few days at the reunion. Love ya Spud!