Because we were so busy on Valentines day helping our daughter with last minute Science Fair project stuff, we didn't end up being able to celebrate on Valentines day. However, Don more than made up for it by planning an extraordinary evening out on Saturday.

We head out at around 5:00, which at first, I thought was way too early for dinner, since we'd had a late lunch, but it turned out that he had everything all planned to perfection. First, we drove down to Pacifica to this little Restaurant right on the waterfront called Ristorante Portofino We got there a few minutes before our reservation, so we looked around and snapped a few pictures.

These were taken in front of the Ristorante Portofino:
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Our Reservation was for 5:30, which Don had planned out to coincide with the sunset (Scheduled for 5:49pm).  We were seated and ordered in very short order, and then were able to enjoy this stunning sunset from our table.


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We ordered the Insalata Italiana to start with;

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And for Entrees we had the Gnocchi Fondenti:

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And the Veal Parmigiana:

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Sadly, the food was not as good as the view, but it wasn't bad. The texture on the gnocchi could definitely have been better, although the sauce was very good. The Veal Parmigiana was ho-hum, although the pasta served with it was perfectly al-dente, which was nice. My favorite part however, was that itty bitty side of Spinach that was served with it. It was garlicky and yuuuuummmmay. Overall they were a 3.75 on a scale of 1-5. They got a 4.5 for view, but only a 3 for food and service. So I'd recommend them, but with reservations.

After dinner, we headed back to Downtown San Francisco to Great American Music Hall. We really lucked out, too - finding a fabulous parking spot directly across the street from the Venue. There we saw Sleepytime Gorilla Museum with Ovo and  Estradasphere opening for them.

The first group to go on was Ovo and I gotta tell you... I hated them. lol Hate hate hated. Their music seemed mostly to consist of the woman screaming or grunting, or them intentionally creating feedback to drums. It was probably the most jarring noises I'd ever heard that were intentionally made with the intent of providing musically entertainment. The drummer was good - really good. If it'd just been him drumming, I probably would have enjoyed them. One interesting (interesting re: offputting in a nails on chalkboard sort of way) was that at one point, the woman took one of her dreadlocks and a violin bow and 'played' her hair. > . < It made my skin crawl.

The second group to play was Estradasphere. They were a very talented group of people. Their music was sort of folksy meets rock, and I really enjoyed it. It wasn't exactly my style, but it was fun to listen to. The one downside to their music, and probably the reason I didn't care for it more, was that they did not really have many songs that had words. In fact, during their hour long performance, I think they had two. Now, I know that good music doesn't have to have music, but in all honesty, theirs I think would have been well complemented by some lively words.

Then we get to the headliner, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum. They were quite an interesting show as well, although in a different way. Some of their music was very primal and dark, and some folksy and lighthearted. They had a lot of new sounds, which is likely due to the fact that several of their instruments are handmade. Their music is actually kind of difficult to describe, to be honest - but it was good enough that I am actually considering buying some of their music. Except that I don't think I'd listen to it. lol

You might think from reading this that I didn't enjoy the show, but nothing could be further from the truth. They were all very talented musicians (with the possible exception of yowling dreadlock girl), and it was definitely a unique experience, and it makes me want to try other new events. By far my best Valentines Day to date.


Because we were so busy on Valentines day helping our daughter with last minute Science Fair project stuff, we didn't end up being able to celebrate on Valentines day. However, Don more than made up for it by planning an extraordinary evening out on Saturday.

We head out at around 5:00, which at first, I thought was way too early for dinner, since we'd had a late lunch, but it turned out that he had everything all planned to perfection. First, we drove down to Pacifica to this little Restaurant right on the waterfront called Ristorante Portofino We got there a few minutes before our reservation, so we looked around and snapped a few pictures.

These were taken in front of the Ristorante Portofino:
Photobucket

Photobucket

Our Reservation was for 5:30, which Don had planned out to coincide with the sunset (Scheduled for 5:49pm).  We were seated and ordered in very short order, and then were able to enjoy this stunning sunset from our table.


Photobucket

We ordered the Insalata Italiana to start with;

Photobucket

And for Entrees we had the Gnocchi Fondenti:

Photobucket

And the Veal Parmigiana:

Photobucket

Sadly, the food was not as good as the view, but it wasn't bad. The texture on the gnocchi could definitely have been better, although the sauce was very good. The Veal Parmigiana was ho-hum, although the pasta served with it was perfectly al-dente, which was nice. My favorite part however, was that itty bitty side of Spinach that was served with it. It was garlicky and yuuuuummmmay. Overall they were a 3.75 on a scale of 1-5. They got a 4.5 for view, but only a 3 for food and service. So I'd recommend them, but with reservations.

After dinner, we headed back to Downtown San Francisco to Great American Music Hall. We really lucked out, too - finding a fabulous parking spot directly across the street from the Venue. There we saw Sleepytime Gorilla Museum with Ovo and  Estradasphere opening for them.

The first group to go on was Ovo and I gotta tell you... I hated them. lol Hate hate hated. Their music seemed mostly to consist of the woman screaming or grunting, or them intentionally creating feedback to drums. It was probably the most jarring noises I'd ever heard that were intentionally made with the intent of providing musically entertainment. The drummer was good - really good. If it'd just been him drumming, I probably would have enjoyed them. One interesting (interesting re: offputting in a nails on chalkboard sort of way) was that at one point, the woman took one of her dreadlocks and a violin bow and 'played' her hair. > . < It made my skin crawl.

The second group to play was Estradasphere. They were a very talented group of people. Their music was sort of folksy meets rock, and I really enjoyed it. It wasn't exactly my style, but it was fun to listen to. The one downside to their music, and probably the reason I didn't care for it more, was that they did not really have many songs that had words. In fact, during their hour long performance, I think they had two. Now, I know that good music doesn't have to have music, but in all honesty, theirs I think would have been well complemented by some lively words.

Then we get to the headliner, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum. They were quite an interesting show as well, although in a different way. Some of their music was very primal and dark, and some folksy and lighthearted. They had a lot of new sounds, which is likely due to the fact that several of their instruments are handmade. Their music is actually kind of difficult to describe, to be honest - but it was good enough that I am actually considering buying some of their music. Except that I don't think I'd listen to it. lol

You might think from reading this that I didn't enjoy the show, but nothing could be further from the truth. They were all very talented musicians (with the possible exception of yowling dreadlock girl), and it was definitely a unique experience, and it makes me want to try other new events. By far my best Valentines Day to date.

So I went and viewed some houses yesterday. There may actually be a possibility in the ones I looked at. Let's sum them up shall we?

The Smallish Nice One
The first property was nice, but at 1434 sq ft, it's a little under our goal of 1500 sq ft. It had a pool, a fireplace, a bonus room off of the dining room, but only three bedrooms. Also, the kitchen was in dire need of a make-over. The cabinetry might have been original, which wouldn't be bad if it was a newer house, but it was built in the 60's. > . <  On the plus side, it was on a cul de sac and it was also the closest to the bart station. Close enough to ride a bicycle, which would be convenient for Mr. Man.

The Stinky One
The second property is also a possibility, although it was a tough one to look at, due to the overwhelming odor emanating from it. > . < The current owners have like a bazillion cats and dogs, and the entire house just stinks to high heaven. I walked in the door and had to suppress the urge to gag right there. The kitchen needs less work than the previous one, and at 1700 sq ft, is much more spacious. However, after having so many maminals there, all the flooring would likely need to be replaced. It had 4 bedrooms and two full baths. The layout of the master bedroom was a little awkward, but not too terribly bad. I didn't get to see the yard due to the very large, wet dog outside (it was raining yesterday). The agent was a big poopie head however, trying to push me in to signing a buyer's agent agreement with him.

The One with the Attached Lean-To
The third property was an OMFG NO WAY. It was a four bedroom with 1300 or so sq ft, and the layout was okay, however they had put on what is obviously an un-permitted addition off the back door, and had two beds out there. The first bedroom had what appeared to be a family of three living in it, and getting past the odor coming off of it took some work as well. I wasn't able to see one of the bedrooms because it was locked and the resident not at home. Interesting fact: overall, I counted atleast 10 people living in this house. The kitchen was nice, and wouldn't require too much work, and the rest of the house wasn't too terribly bad, aside from the people, wood paneling and general disrepair. The biggest thing that makes this place a no is the 'addition'. I'm pretty sure it wouldn't pass an inspection, although it was by far the cheapest place I looked at yesterday.

The Top Contender
Top contender was 4. It had 1536 sq ft, and was on a cul de sac. It had a huge two car garage (yay for parking AND hobby space), and lots of storage space within the house as well. The yard was oddly shaped, but there were no rear neighbors, as it backed up to a run-off area. The kitchen was okay, and would eventually need to be updated, but it wasn't a particularly bad kitchen, and could be livable for a few years. The bathrooms upstairs would probably require the most immediate attention, as neither of them were in very good repair. The one thing I'm worried about is that it's a two story, and the head space going up the stairs may be a problem for Mr. Man and his 6'6" height.

The One with the Power (lines)
And last but not least was also a big fat no, and had the Sr. Poopie head who inspired the first installment of 'Real Estate Agents are Lazy (And I hate them)'. The interior wasn't really bad, albeit dirty and not well kept, (the cigarette butts littering the front yard was a nice touch), but the biggest reason it was a no was the fact that it was backed up to an apartment complex and had a power line post in the back yard, with a great big fat ugly black cable line hanging directly across the yard. Interior things I can work with, but location is kinda set in stone.

So two strong possibilities and one that could probably work, although it was a little smallish, although odd fact, upon returning home and showing the pictures and such to Mr. Man, the odorific house with Mr. Poopie Head the Second appears to have been taken off the market. So it may just be top contender. Nice thing about Top Contender is, it's well within our price range, too. So we shall see. It's been on the market for a while though, so I feel comfortable with looking around a little bit more before stealing one of Mr. Man's weekend days away from him and dragging him out to see it.

Stay tuned for more installments of Real Estate Agents are Lazy (and I hate them).
So I went and viewed some houses yesterday. There may actually be a possibility in the ones I looked at. Let's sum them up shall we?

The Smallish Nice One
The first property was nice, but at 1434 sq ft, it's a little under our goal of 1500 sq ft. It had a pool, a fireplace, a bonus room off of the dining room, but only three bedrooms. Also, the kitchen was in dire need of a make-over. The cabinetry might have been original, which wouldn't be bad if it was a newer house, but it was built in the 60's. > . <  On the plus side, it was on a cul de sac and it was also the closest to the bart station. Close enough to ride a bicycle, which would be convenient for Mr. Man.

The Stinky One
The second property is also a possibility, although it was a tough one to look at, due to the overwhelming odor emanating from it. > . < The current owners have like a bazillion cats and dogs, and the entire house just stinks to high heaven. I walked in the door and had to suppress the urge to gag right there. The kitchen needs less work than the previous one, and at 1700 sq ft, is much more spacious. However, after having so many maminals there, all the flooring would likely need to be replaced. It had 4 bedrooms and two full baths. The layout of the master bedroom was a little awkward, but not too terribly bad. I didn't get to see the yard due to the very large, wet dog outside (it was raining yesterday). The agent was a big poopie head however, trying to push me in to signing a buyer's agent agreement with him.

The One with the Attached Lean-To
The third property was an OMFG NO WAY. It was a four bedroom with 1300 or so sq ft, and the layout was okay, however they had put on what is obviously an un-permitted addition off the back door, and had two beds out there. The first bedroom had what appeared to be a family of three living in it, and getting past the odor coming off of it took some work as well. I wasn't able to see one of the bedrooms because it was locked and the resident not at home. Interesting fact: overall, I counted atleast 10 people living in this house. The kitchen was nice, and wouldn't require too much work, and the rest of the house wasn't too terribly bad, aside from the people, wood paneling and general disrepair. The biggest thing that makes this place a no is the 'addition'. I'm pretty sure it wouldn't pass an inspection, although it was by far the cheapest place I looked at yesterday.

The Top Contender
Top contender was 4. It had 1536 sq ft, and was on a cul de sac. It had a huge two car garage (yay for parking AND hobby space), and lots of storage space within the house as well. The yard was oddly shaped, but there were no rear neighbors, as it backed up to a run-off area. The kitchen was okay, and would eventually need to be updated, but it wasn't a particularly bad kitchen, and could be livable for a few years. The bathrooms upstairs would probably require the most immediate attention, as neither of them were in very good repair. The one thing I'm worried about is that it's a two story, and the head space going up the stairs may be a problem for Mr. Man and his 6'6" height.

The One with the Power (lines)
And last but not least was also a big fat no, and had the Sr. Poopie head who inspired the first installment of 'Real Estate Agents are Lazy (And I hate them)'. The interior wasn't really bad, albeit dirty and not well kept, (the cigarette butts littering the front yard was a nice touch), but the biggest reason it was a no was the fact that it was backed up to an apartment complex and had a power line post in the back yard, with a great big fat ugly black cable line hanging directly across the yard. Interior things I can work with, but location is kinda set in stone.

So two strong possibilities and one that could probably work, although it was a little smallish, although odd fact, upon returning home and showing the pictures and such to Mr. Man, the odorific house with Mr. Poopie Head the Second appears to have been taken off the market. So it may just be top contender. Nice thing about Top Contender is, it's well within our price range, too. So we shall see. It's been on the market for a while though, so I feel comfortable with looking around a little bit more before stealing one of Mr. Man's weekend days away from him and dragging him out to see it.

Stay tuned for more installments of Real Estate Agents are Lazy (and I hate them).

Real Estate Agents are Lazy (and I hate them)

ARGH!!!1!!1!

So we’re trying to buy a house. We’ve been looking for a while, but kinda took a break over the holidays, and now I’m trying to get started on viewing properties again. Which of course, reminds me of all the reasons why I hate setting up these appointments. I’m trying to make Thursday ‘House Viewing Day’ from now on. I figure if I just make it a standing event that, yes, that is what I’m doing on Thursday, then eventually, hopefully we will find “THE ONE”.

Imagine for a moment, that you are trying to buy a new washing machine. You look online at all the different washing machines available, and then you go to the store to look at them. You find yourself a sales associate and you say, “Hi, I was interested in seeing the MXWash3000, could you show it to me, please?”

The sales associate gives you an appraising look and says “First time washing machine buyer, eh?”

You smile and say “Yes, and I’m really excited about it. Do you think you could show it to me?”

The Sales Associate continues to look at you and says, “Well, have you considered getting a Washing Machine Buying Consultant? They would be able to help you buy a washing machine without having to go through the hassle of researching the various new machines coming out, they’d be able to give you reviews of a machines features, and help you find a machine that suits your needs.”

You, now feeling slightly defensive, having already done much research online on washing machines say “I’m not really working with a consultant at the moment. Do you think you could show it to me?”

Associate, “Well, you know, most people use a Washing Machine Buying Consultant, why don’t you want to use one?”

You: “Well, I really don’t think that I should need to defend my washing machine purchasing methods really. Are you going to show me the machine or not?”

Associate, “Look, I just want you to think about this here. If you view 8 different washing machines, with 8 different sales associates, they’re only making a commission if they sell it. It’s
really not fair to them to work with so many different associates.”

You, now feeling rather annoyed, “But, isn’t it their job to sell the washing machines?”

….

Associate, “Well, I’m just saying that a Washing Machine Buying Consultant would be able to build a relationship with you, figure out what you need in a washing machine, and help you find the right one for you. They could send you updates of new machines coming out, and help guide you through the process.”

You are now very annoyed and respond with, “You mean by going to “AllWashingMachines.com” and reading the information and updates there?

Associate, “Yes, exactly!” as if you had just made his point for him.

Annoyed silence, then “Look, are you going to show me the MXWash3000 or not?

I have this conversation with real-estate agents more frequently than I care to whenever I try to book appointments with the listing agents. Grrrrr…. If I were a seller, especially in the current market, I would be furious with my agent for putting potential buyers through that rigmarole.

I mean, it’s their JOB to SELL the house. They do a little bit of paperwork, give the seller a few tips on staging, put up a sign, throw a listing up on the MLS, and then sit back and wait for an offer. In any other commission based sales job, that kind of attitude towards a potential buyer would cause you to lose business. Listing agents have it easy. They put the house on the mls, and then the poor saps who may want to buy it have to go out and find ~another~ agent to show them the house. What kind of weird system is that? If I want to buy a Whirlpool washing machine, wouldn’t it be better to talk to the whirlpool salesman, rather than the Maytag one?

Bleh ~ anyhow, I have some appointments tomorrow regardless, including the big poopie-head who put me through the ringer I just relayed via the washing machine story. Wish me luck! :-)

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