Yeninko of the Umlaut

Friday, April 28, 2006

Cuz I Gotta Write About Something

One recommendation I received often before my trip to Costa Rica was to bring some snacking foods, preferable some sort of fortified energy bar for those times when I was out an about.

As a result I’ve tried pretty much every Cliff Bar out there and these are my favorites.

Generally I’m not a fan of the Iced Cliff Bars. In Cliff speak spiced seems to mean 'extra layer of sugar on top', and that just makes them taste even more like a candy bar than they already do.

My favorite is easily The Black Cherry Almond bar and I have a definite preference away from the choc ones, again proly just because it too much like a candy bar (There is an incident in my vending machine days involving me and a box of Almond Joy bars that has scarred me).

In an effort to mix it up I also throw in a couple Banana Nut, Oatmeal Raison, Apricot and Cookies & Creme flavors If I'm in a chocolate mood I have the Chocolate Brownie which is slightly more bitter and suprisingly less sweet compared to most of the other chocolate flavors.

I’m desperate to try out the Spiced Pumpkin Pie.

And as for the best prices, Trader Joes cannot be beat. The bars are $1 each. Even buying in bulk at other locations I can’t come close to this price. Even the Cliff Bar web site charges more.

I wonder if there are varieties of cliff bars that are only certain locations like with Kit Kat Orange and Mint bars? And who of us wouldn’t love to see some savory version of Cliffbars?

Friday, April 14, 2006

A Beat Down

After the discussion about my love for, and SF’s lack of, frozen yogurt at diner club this Wednesday, Alyssa and I decided upon our walk home, to stop off at the closest shop selling the nearest facsimile of frozen yoghurt, which in this case happened to be McDonalds at Stanyan and Haight.

I opted for the parfait (more of a custard really) and I believe Alyssa purchased a cone of soft serve, though I can’t honestly remember due both to my focus and fixation upon my own parfait and because of the events that occurred as we were exiting McDonalds.

Just outside the door, as we exited, was a man who was arguing with some youths. They were talking trash and he was dishing it back. At the time I thought it was just a group of miscellaneous people giving each other a hard time, nothing more. When we were about 15 feet from the door I heard one of the youths say something to the effect of, “Why’d you have to pull a knife, we didn't do anything” which of course got my attention. I looked over and didn’t see a knife but I realized that the situation was a little more serious than I had initially suspected. The man at the door was apparently keeping at bay about a dozen youths who were intent on giving him a hard time.

How hard I was just about to discover. The man at the door made a break for it when, in the blink or an eye things when from trash talking to full scale violence. The youths descended on him, quickly driving him to the ground where they proceeded to stomp and jump on him. And then I did something dumb, something very, very dumb. I stepped in. I grabbed the nearest youth and pulled him off the guy on the ground. Out of the corner of my eye I saw another young man, apparently also uninvolved, do the same thing, trying to drive the kids off the guy. The youths turned on him and just as quickly beat him to the ground stomped and jumped on him as well. The first man managed to run off as attention was distracted and I came to my senses, realized that I was in a very bad place and that I was putting not just myself in danger but Alyssa as well with my attempt at heroism. I crossed the street with her, called SFPD and tailed a couple of the youths as we walked down the street. I lost the youths about a quarter mile away and gave up on the cops showing up.

I did later run into a police cruiser, flagged them down and spoke with the police. They could find none of the perpetrators (which is no surprise) but neither could the find either of the victims. Apparently I was the only one who called the police.

All of this really made me focus on my own behavior during stressful situations. And my conclusion is that I always do the wrong thing. It is really easy to say stopping for the car accident on the 101 a few months back or stepping into a brawl on Wednesday, were the ‘Right’ thing to do from a detached or Romantic point of view. But from a personal standpoint it absolutely is not. I could just as easily have been the second man who stepped in and be writing about the concussion I received or a permanently damaged cornea.

And for what? To what effect? Those youths had their fun and I’m not sure just how much good I did. The cops found no one, so justice of course wasn’t served. Everyone lost and I was lucky to have escaped unharmed.

Amanda had mentioned previously that during the car incident I did the exact wrong thing, and I think I agree with her. Cars were swerving and crashing all over the place. And getting out of a reinforced steel cage to see how everyone else was just put me in significantly greater danger. The right thing to have done was to call the cops and continue driving. The motorcycle that ran into Jackie’s Mini could have just as easily slammed into me or even worse, injured her (not really since she was smart enough to stay inside the car). I’m still surprised no one was killed in that car incident. And by pulling over, what sort of effect did I expect to have? I doubt any intervention I could have provided would have saved any ones life especially with trained professionals five minutes away.

After giving up on the cops I walked down to Jenny’s to borrow her car for the next morning. After hanging out briefly I walked home, completely forgetting that I went there to pick up the car.

The whole situation broght back the Goetz Shooting in New York in ’84.