Friday Flashback #017 …

I love Leeds. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, and I apologize for repeating myself. It has this rusty English charm to it, both old and new at the same time. A river runs through it … okay, a canal, and I am fascinated by this little water taxi that winds around, taking people to and fro. I’m going back again this fall, and plan to spend time in neighboring York, which I’ve never been to before. I follow some Brits on Instagram and the I love the photos I see. There’s something about these cities, so ancient and history-filled, that makes California (even with the palm trees and Pacific Ocean) pale in comparison. Leeds, London … I’m adding York, Hay-on-Wye (which I desperately want to call on Ham-on-Rye), and Brighton to my England folio this year. I can’t hardly wait.

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Friday Flashback #016 …

There’s nothing like an old, weathered sign. The Admiral Hotel is located in a … let’s say “less desirable” part of San Francisco, one I walk through occasionally to get to a bookstore over on Van Ness Avenue. It’s kind of a shortcut from where I normally stay. I’m pretty sure that this sign could tell some amazing stories, but as it stands–minus the comparatively shiny and new Coca-Cola sign–it looks like a seamy hotel that Sam Spade might live in, like all those film and fictional private dicks do. San Francisco is such a noirish city, even more so than New York, I think. The fog, the hilly streets, the Bay, with “The Rock” sitting forlorn and menacing in its center, the blemished but unchanged signs, like this one, all contribute to an overall feeling of damp, lurking danger. That dame walking towards you might have a gat in her garter; that lug leaning on the bar front across the street looks like trouble. Be careful. It’s dark and dangerous in this neighborhood.

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Friday Flashback #015 …

They call it Tuna Harbor, because that’s what it was years ago, the site of a thriving tuna boat fishing industry here in San Diego. Now? Not so much, although tuna boats still dock here and drop off their catch (there’s some kind of processing building there, I believe). Here it is on a cool day in the beginning of summer last year, right at twilight, after a rain storm. The water is placid and reflective, and it almost looks like brush-strokes. I used to walk through this area (which is north of Seaport Village) all the time. It was my go-to place for walking, especially on the weekends when I wanted to walk a quick two miles or so. I miss my downtown walks (I moved in August 2017). I don’t necessarily miss downtown, but that’s another story.

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Friday Flashback #014 …

Give me a bookstore to explore and I am the happiest man in the world. Well, that’s probably not true; those that know me know that I’m not the happiest of anything at any given time, but I digress … or wallow. You pick.

This is Daunt Books on Marylebone in London. London is such a great bookstore town. I think if I lived there I could do one bookstore a week and go for months without duplicating myself. This is an old-school one, in a lovely area. It reminds me a little of the old Rizzoli Bookstore on 57th St. in New York City: deep, dark, rich wood shelves, impeccable layout, very high-end and stately. Some of my other favorites in London are Foyles (of course) on Charing Cross Road, and Waterstones’ flagship store off Piccadilly Circus, which is huge.

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