Fogbelt

I just can't do it, and perhaps never again. I attended the first 8 Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festivals in Golden Gate Park and have many times sung the praise of Warren Hellman and his glorious event. But we barely survived #7, and we peaked at #8 with access-passes (thank you BAD LIVERS!!)

They are predicting 750,000 attendees this year, and I don't think it's an underestimate. It's simply too much humanity for us to deal with, so this will be the 3rd year I'll miss it.

Just for shits and giggles, I'm going to create an imaginary itinerary here in case I was kuh-razy enough to go. And I'm going to be realistic. Gone are the days when you can navigate between stages to cherry pick your shows like a smorgasbord. Unless you are 6 1/2 feet tall and don't mind bumming out other people, your best bet is to pick a spot and stick with it.

America's Cup 34 has already started. Remember those two zippy Oracle catamarans cruising the bay this summer? Teams Spithill and Coutts (my kids love to say koootz) have already raced at World Series events in Cascais, Portugal and Plymouth, England - which just concluded. Next up is San Diego in early November.

We've been watching Live From Europe with our morning oatmeal via youtube.com/americascup. Once you start to "get" it... it really gets entertaining. It's all about teamwork and technology! They are working very hard to appeal to a wider tv audience that knows little about sailing with the assistance of precision GPS, onboard cameras, helicopters, and computer graphics by Stan Honey, the same guy who brought us the 10 yard line in football, the hockey halo, NASCAR's RACEf/x, and baseball's PITCHf/x, among other triumphs.

We watched fleet races, where all 9 teams compete at the same time, and match races where they face off in duals to win the bracket. So far in the total standings, Emirates Team New Zealand is in 1st place followed by Oracle-Spithill (Spithill is the captain), Oracle-Coutts (koootz!) in 3rd, Sweden's Artemis Racing, and Team Korea in 5th. Watching Team Korea blossom in the final days of Plymouth was the biggest thrill at our house. Maybe we are just real keen on the white tiger graphics, but it was huge fun watching them emerge.

An old client of mine recently started up a new company over on the peninsula that sells hardwood flooring. I've been helping to promote his flooring styles on Craigslist and wow… what a completive market! Most times I post an ad, it's flagged and deleted within an hour or two. Other ads stick around long enough to keep renewing although they aren't much different. I'm very careful about sticking to the rules so it's frustrating that it keeps happening.

Well… my friend Victor is definitely the man to see for good deals on hardwood flooring. And unlike his previous business, they also offer full installation. WholeWood.com is centrally located in San Carlos to serve everyone from San Jose and San Francisco to Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Burlingame, Millbrae, and Redwood City. He says he gets a lot of visitors from Sacramento too but not so many from the East Bay (where I am.)

Great opportunity for a live-aboard in San Francisco Bay. This boat is an absolute classic with completely rebuilt engine and rewords teak wood throughout. It's currently docking at Jack London Square in Oakland. Imagine how much fun you could have taking your friends out to watch the America's Cup races.

Check the website for interior and exterior photos and specifications. If you buy it... and you learned of it here... want to take The Boegers out on the bay to watch some racing?

We had such a great time staying at Curry Village this past summer that we booked winter cabins the moment we returned home. So much for that! The cabins are being closed PERMANENTLY (along with many of the tents) due to large, falling rocks.

Huge weekend in Golden Gate Park!! Read about our complete adventure after the jump...

This year's lineup is stellar as usual. Saturday is a barnburner and Sunday is ALSO a barnburner. Or should I say Barnes Burner because Mr. Danny Barnes has the potential to play w/ 5 or 6 acts.

FRIDAY NIGHT FRUMP

T Bone Burnett again brings a band, but this time w/ unknowns such as Robert Plant and a fiddler named Alison Krauss. Nothing to see here!

SPECIAL SATURDAY RECIPE

I'm just skipping the banjo stage altogether. I can hear Steve Earle rant some other time.

We kick off in high gear at noon w/ Santiago Jimenez (Mexicali music) followed by the Bad Livers reunion show at 1:05 (Star Stage). The Bad Livers show is THE must-see of the weekend, in my biased opinion.

After Bad Livers, 20 minutes to get comfy at Star Stage for The Desert Rose Band, another must-not-miss reunion. Del McCoury Band -- best "conventional" bluegrass band on the planet -- follows, so if you find comfort please stay!! Mickey Hart's latest drum project comes after and I know Simon will want to see this.

BUT... the Saturday Rooster tradition continues w/ Dave Alvin & the Guilty WOMEN and then Robert Earl Keen (w/ Barnes on banjo?). I plan to be as nimble and greedy as possible on Saturday afternoon and bounce between Rooster and Star.

SUNDAY - HARDLY OR STRICTLY?

The Strictly lineup at the main Banjo Stage on Sunday sets the bar. You can see Ralph Stanley, Earl Skruggs, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, and Emmylou Harris all in a row. Kari adds that Hazel Dickens' stories are always highlights for her. You could find find worse ways to spend an afternoon.

If you are seeking the Hardly action, the Rooster is a fascinating place on Sunday w/ Bonnie "Prince" Billie, Greg Brown, and Iron & Wine playing all in a row from 1 till 4:30.

Elvis Costello's Hardly one-off is titled "High Whines & Spirits." Who will be in this band?? T-bone still hangin' around? I love a good mystery.

The Arrow Stage has some cool shows too in the afternoon too. The Infamous Stringdusters and The Waybacks play back-to-back beginning at 2:10, and these sets are suspect to Danny Barnes appearances.

To close it out, Heavy Trash assaults the Star Stage at 5:45 featuring Jon Spencer of the Blues Explosion. Hardly the gentle caress of Emmylou.

[SPECIAL NOTE TO MY PALS WHO MIGHT ATTEND: I will not attempt to answer/talk on my cell phone at the festival, because it's futile and it runs counter to enjoying music. But if you TEXT me... no problemo!! Please TXT me!! ]

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