Every once in a while, I check to see what my old hovel might rent for now that San Francisco has moved one step beyond into the era of super, cartoonishly ridiculous rents. Apparently, a unit in my old building (they were all pretty much identical) was on the market just last month for the princely sum of $3200/month.


If you’ve ever visited the place, you understand just how laughably insane I find that number.  In 1992, I thought it was a little overpriced even for San Francisco at the time, at $800. When I moved out in 2005, rent control had limited the increase to about $935. At the going rate of inflation in the US, it should be renting now for around $1400.

But no.


I rather liked my old landlord and I’m glad he’s raking in the money. I imagine there have been some renovations since I left.

But damn.


Maybe I should’ve bought property there. It’s not like I’d have to live in it or anything.

Whole lotta Canada onstage


Sloan at Cat’s Cradle Backroom. This makes up for not getting to see them last year in Toronto. This was actually better (and much cheaper) because it was a small club. Great show with many fewer annoying 19-year-olds than at most shows in Chapel Hill. And my minor crush on Chris Murphy continues stronger than ever now that we’ve been just fifteen or twenty feet from each other. Sigh…

Randomly Wednesday night

Watching “Naked City” and recovering after class and a really long day, the following come to mind:

  • I had no idea while I was doing the Planet SOMA US Tour in 1997, this was going on pretty much simultaneously. I’m reading a book on it now, one of my acquisitions from last month’s annual “Thanksgiving in Canada” road trip.
  • Speaking of Thanksgiving trips, I’m thinking of fleeing to Atlanta for American Thanksgiving this year.
  • Speaking of Canada, I’m seeing Sloan next week in Chapel Hill. I have seen many of my favorite Canadian bands this year. I have not actually seen any of them in Canada.
  • I have a houseguest in the spare room; I’m helping out a friend who needs a place to stay for a week or so as he looks for a new home. He’s a nice guy and is generally being a “good guest” but I hate having someone else (someone whose quirks I don’t know all that well)  in my house for an extended period. I’ve lived alone too long and I do not envision marriage or a roommate ever being an option for me again. And no, he’s not a follower of this site.
  • It’s McRib season again. You probably don’t care. That’s fine. More for me.

Marriage, affairs, cities, etc.


Once again beating to death that metaphor of cities as romance partners: While Toronto has long been the city I could see myself married to, I’ve decided that Montréal is the city I would most like to have an affair with.

From what I’ve bee am able to determine, many actual Canadians (not just “pretend” Canadians like me) have this relationship with the two cities as well.

I think a big part of what I like about Montréal is that it seems a little more scruffy and a little less”orderly” than Toronto, which makes it much more sexy but perhaps much less appealing as a long-term partner. Not, mind you, that either is really an option for me. But Montréal is just a not quite as clean, not quite as orderly, and a whole lot cheaper. It’s also an older city that grew large much earlier than Toronto did, even though it’s quite obvious that much of its growth was in the 1950s and 1960s as well.

Random encounters with nice people in Montréal:

  • The nice old gentleman who struck up a conversation with me at breakfast the other day, he with his tentalive English and me with my (very) tentative French. He complimented my language skills (he was being polite, I think) and said I looked “shy” when I spoke French.
  • The antique shop owner who, when I told him I collected old supermarket merchandise and did a website on their histories, produced a 30-year-old bag for Steinberg’s, an iconic and defunct Montreal chain I was very familiar with, and proceeded to give it to me free.
  • The lady at the Indian restaurant in an outlying neighborhood who asked me if a certain dish might be “too spicy” for me and was surprised towards that I make my own version of it at home. She gave me free pakoras.

Contrary to what I’ve heard, people are actually really nice and polite here and usually smiling. I think I was a little reserved last time I was here and didn’t interact with too many people because of it. That was probably kind of a mistake.

Canada, eh?


I’m pretty much booked for the annual Thanksgiving road trip the first two weeks in October. I’m starting with four nights in Montréal, following that with two unstructured nights, and finishing up with four nights in Toronto. Specific itinerary upon request if anyone wants to meet up along the way.

I’m looking forward to being back in the old homeland…