Wednesday, April 15, 2015

In Modern Ruin

Like Mackinac's majestic Grand Hotel, San Francisco's Victorian-era Sutro Baths are a relic of a time gone by. But unlike the Grand Hotel, the baths stand in haunted ruin on the shore of the Pacific Ocean.
Now part of the National Park Services, the site once housed seven pools of filtered and heated seawater, a museum, restaurants, tropical plants, promenades, and seating for thousands of spectators, all covered by 100,000 square feet of opulent glass.

Built by San Franciscan real estate tycoon Adolph Sutro in 1894, the baths never flourished, despite the millions of dollars he poured into them — adding various amusements and oddities over the decades. Sutro even built a rail line through the Presidio to service the baths and the Cliff House, yet they continued to struggle.
After Sutro died in the 1950s, the site was purchased by another entertainment mogul, who attempted to turn it into an ice skating rink. But the site still didn't turn a profit and, in 1966, a fire turned the baths to ruin.

Today, visitors wander over the ruins as though their the remains of the Romans or  Mayans. Often they wonder what ancient structure once stood on the shore, but in reality, it wasn't all that long ago that Sutro's Glass Palace stood in all its lavish glory.

Listen to the colorful history of the baths turned to ruins on 99% Invisible. Or, read the story in Sutro's Glass Palace, available on Amazon.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Burger of the Week #208

Easter Bunny left behind some Adidas Superior Comfort Neo socks.
They're odor resistant, but honestly, I kind of wish they were scented...
Funniest part is their mis-matchiness — one's a burger and one's the fries!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Art with Soul

A few hours in on our New Orleans adventures, we stumbled across an Easter Hat Bar Crawl. Now this alone is worth mentioning, as I love the idea and spirit of this event. Moreover, the people watching was epic. And as an excuse to stare a little longer,  we meandered into the nearest bar.

The bar was Mimi's in the Marigny, and we quickly found ourselves admiring and commenting on the "Be Nice or Leave" sign hanging above the dartboard.
It was straight-forward. And we appreciated its candor. Little did we know, this sign was kind of a big idea and a big deal in New Orleans. 

It's a simple message, but it embodies the spirit of New Orleans. Over the course of the week, we noted many times just how friendly people were, (with few exceptions—Vaughan's).

The painting was done by Dr. Bob (Bob Shaffer), a local Bywater artist, and in the days to come, we would see the sign (or variations therein) dozens of times. Dr. Bob started selling these signs after his own sign bearing the message continued to get stolen (and he continued to replace it).
Artistically, Dr. Bob reminded me of GR's Reb Roberts,  (who coincidentally has a gator gumbo painting reminiscent of Dr. Bob's gator po-boy painting). Wild, colorful folk art with big block letters, messages of kindness or animal inspired, Dr. Bob livens up the buildings of New Orleans much in the same manner that Reb adorns the streets of Easttown.
In my head, especially since we were staying in Bywater, Dr. Bob's artwork is an integral part of the visual experience of New Orleans. When I reflect back on the trip, I will see his art on sidewalks, buildings and inside restaurants.
I'm sure Dr. Bob wants everyone to be nice (or leave) but I'm sure he also gets a kick out of all the yankees who come down to NOLA and spend $50 on one of his signs. But what better message to take home, then these simple words that should be a motto world-wide.
Read the interesting and entertaining story of the messages origin here. 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Moving In: New Orleans

I'm only a little bit tech savvy. I'm right on the edge of Old School and Millennial. So when I traveled to New Orleans last week, it was the first time I tried airbnb. Airbnb is a website that allows individuals to rent out lodging, be it an apartment, a whole house, or an airstream trailer.  
The house we stayed in the Bywater was an 87-foot shotgun house from 1897. If you're unfamiliar with shotgun houses, it's when rooms connect to one another in a long row, so you have to travel through one to get to the next—a straight shot from front to back. It's a very common style throughout New Orleans. 
 The house was fantastic. It was so spacious and unique, and so very specific to New Orleans. Being in a neighborhood made it feel like we were living in the city rather than just visiting it. We got to know the streets around our house very well.

The house itself had so much charm — vintage kitchen appliances from the 30s/40s (functional), plants and orchids in every room, 3 fireplaces (non-functional), ridiculously high ceilings, original paintings by the homeowner, and great patio furniture and gardens. Every room had appeal.
While my roomies showered and readied, I spent my mornings on the porch reading my book and basking in the sunshine. And saying hello to all the passerbys—because New Orleans is a crazy friendly city. 
In this transaction we only saw the host when we picked up the keys, but we were able to text her to ask questions about the city throughout the week. This process is different in every airbnb scenario, sometimes you even stay on the property with the owners, more like a bed + breakfast situation. 

Having tried it once, I will definitely do airbnb again, and recommend it to others (as I'm doing here). Marriotts are the same wherever you go, but you can only stay at a house like this in New Orleans!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Peeps: A Respectable Way to Go...

Easter was a few days ago, which means right now you probably have some peeps growing stale somewhere around your house (and if you don't you can probably get them for pennies at the local market). 

Not ready to subject yourselves to the sugar rush? Here's a way to maybe make it a little more palatable. Peeps Ice Cream. 

This is taken from last weekend's GR Press, where Jessica Webster grotesquely illustrated the murder of 10 baby blue peeps. I especially love this second image of them being boiled alive.
So unless you intend to keep these chics around till next Easter (and turn them into a wreath!?!!), I'm declaring it ice cream time. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Burger of the Week #207

Probably not surprising... dogs like burgers too. 
Daffy, however, is unimpressed.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Burger of the Week #206

Enjoy a tasty little April Fools Burger. Courtesy of