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2001-07-13 - 1:34 p.m.

Dear John and Rob,

I'm sitting at a cafe in Haight Ashbury, while Gary is at Amoeba Records (Gary at a record store is like a man possessed, and it is best to stay out of his way), paying too much money for the priviledge of updating this journal with a fast Internet connection. My brother has a computer, and what is probably the slowest Internet connection in the world. So this will be updated sporadically at best (although I like the idea of keeping a record of this trip), and I will not answer your emails at all (although I will thank you for your sizable contribution to the 80 new messages I received this morning).

Gary and I had lunch with his friend Garry yesterday, in San Bruno. It's a small town just outside of the city, and very quaint. The downtown looks the same as it must have 50 years ago; Palo Alto, by contrast, has a sameness of appearance that is quite eerie. Every building looks like every other building. Burger King and Borders Bookstore blend in with the posh shops that line the main drag.

After lunch, we made it into the city, and drove around for a while, catching our first glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge from the highway, peaking over some buildings. It's really quite beautiful here, no matter where you are. We went down to Fisherman's Wharf, so I could see the seals, and peered over to Alcatraz. Then there was more walking around, getting stuck in traffic in the Financial District, until we made our way to Potrero Hill. The Bottom of the Hill is there (the club where the pop festival takes place). We were nervous about parking, so thought we would get there early, and bum around the neighborhood for a while. Turns out there's not much there except for the club. So we went in, and proceeded to stay there for five hours. In that time, we drank, smoked, split a veggie burger, met a photographer who went to school in Austin (much reminiscing commenced), met the organizer of the event ("You came all the way from Austin? Wow."), saw a cute Japanese band (Moonrace), an old school Australian pop band (the Cannanes), and the most beautiful and witty band in the world: the Lucksmiths. I am in love. The show was amazing, and way better than the Austin show (I know you can hardly believe that, John), and they interacted with the crowd, and made jokes, and played for a good long while, and I didn't care that I was hot and it was crowded, because they were so good. We didn't stay for Comet Gain (the hard thing about travelling is that you are so constantly on the go, all the time, and we'd been going since 10:30 that morning), so we made the trek to Palo Alto, and slept late the next morning.

I'm trying to meet up with my friend Steve; unfortunately, he is an Internet friend, and I do not know what he looks like. He's 21, and Asian, and I know he was at the show last night; I made eye contact with every young Asian man I passed (quite a few), but other than a few flirtatious looks, no one seemed to recognize me (he's seen the picture of me on my brother's web site).

So I don't know what's in store for today; Gary will be perfectly happy record store shopping (the autistic side of his personality makes sure he goes through every single band in the used cd category; he absolutely cannot stop midway through) all day long, but I might take off and be a tourist for a while.

Hope you guys are well. Maybe I won't ever want to go back home. It's like another world already.


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