Tammy and tommy and kucing gendut's mini escapades



Cody’s, Shakespeare & Co., Oscar’s, Pyramid… what’s next? What’s happening to Berkeley???

Westbrae Beer Garden is very nice, though.



Cody’s, Shakespeare & Co., Oscar’s, Pyramid… what’s next? What’s happening to Berkeley???

Westbrae Beer Garden is very nice, though.[/quote]

Just to let others not familiar with Berkeley know what those places were:

  1. Cody’s
    sfgate.com/bayarea/article/C … 279460.php

  2. Shakespeare & Co.
    berkeleyside.com/2015/06/03/ … -berkeley/

  3. Oscar’s
    berkeleyside.com/2015/05/26/ … -berkeley/

Oscar’s probably only has relevance if you were a student at CAL in the early days when there were not as many burger places to go, or if you lived in Berkeley back in those years. It wasn’t a particularly nice place and the food wasn’t particularly good. I won’t miss it. Only because it had little relevance to me. It would if it had memories that came along with the buns.

Pyramid was thriving and a great place, so it seemed. Hope the new owners make it even better !


Oscar’s was greasy burgers and fries served by surly staff, just as it should be done. A Berkeley institution and local landmark. My dad used to take me there when I was a kid.

Do you know what truly rocks, though, tommy? Kensington Circus Pub. Scott, the owner, is stand-up guy.

Also, Fat Apple’s. Oh, and Saul’s. I will probably hit all three during my upcoming visit.


[quote=“Chris”]Oscar’s was greasy burgers and fries served by surly staff, just as it should be done. A Berkeley institution and local landmark. My dad used to take me there when I was a kid.

Do you know what truly rocks, though, tommy? Kensington Circus Pub. Scott, the owner, is stand-up guy.

Also, Fat Apple’s. Oh, and Saul’s. I will probably hit all three during my upcoming visit.[/quote]

I have been to Fat Apple’s once. Nice place. Saul’s I have been many times, good place. Maybe when you are back in town we can have a brewski at Kensigton Circus Pub (ain’t never heard of that place before) ? Oh? What is Oh?


Speaking of Oscar’s, I just walked by and it is very much open. I guess the rumors of its demise have been greatly exaggerated. The food is pretty mediocre to be honest, but it is a Berkeley institution, so I’d feel bad if it actually did shut down.


Drove by tonight and yes its still open. Guess maybe they are waiting for the highest bidder? That is a pretty choice piece of land it sits on. Wouldn’t be surprised if they turned it into a condo/high rise of some sort?


The wife has been having daily driving lessons and she is getting quite good now . Just need more work on parking. And we haven’t gotten to parallel parking yet.

This coming Monday she makes her second attempt to pass the driving test. This time in Walnut Creek.

Hope she makes it !!

We better do some more driving around the streets there to get familiar.


Well…Monday came and went and…she DIDN’T PASS. This time I must fault the teacher (me). Because I have not gotten to really teaching her how to back up properly. And we have yet to do parallel parking (which is the hardest to do for a new driver).

She didn’t tell me that they do ask you to parallel park ! Apparently they did that on her first attempt, but somehow this info was not conveyed to me. Or we would have gone over that in detail, including the need to angle your right side mirror down (or left in rare cases) so you can see the curb while you are backing up close to it.

She only got dinged 5 points this time, which is an improvement over the 17 points she had last time (and one is allowed 15 points).

So she would have passed, except she made one of those critical errors. Any critical error and you failed the test PERIOD. They include (going off memory here):

SPEED (too fast or too slow)


I will dig up the thing later and repost the exact wording.

She failed on the first point. The examiner claimed that she was on her way to hitting both the curb and a tree when he had to yell STOP !. So she failed. And , i have little reason to doubt the examiner really. Being with her with her driving the car, one can have a few heart stopping moments. :slight_smile:

Well to be fair she has come a long long way. And there are many times when I am actually relaxed when she is driving and handling traffic like a pro. My bud thinks shes ready to be an Uber driver.

But then she will be handling the car quite well and everything is dandy. Got her moves down and BANG shes suddenly missed a lane change and is now stopped at a light on a bike lane. So i told her to indicate to get back into the other lane and step on the gas in doing so soon as the light turns green.

The good things she does now? She does the roads we usually go on quite well, having gotten used to them. WE do the same challenging roads and now shes doing many things right.

LIke doing the correct speed for the situation. Not to slow , not too fast. DRiving right near the speed limit.

Night driving. At first she refused to drive at night. I insisted, because you can’t only drive in the daytime. Now she is very relaxed driving at night, including driving the freeway at night.

Freeway driving. She’s actually quite good at it now. Gunning the engine going up the ramp , bringing the speed as close as she can to the others already on the freeway while joining.

Lane changing. Doing that quite well, looking in the mirror and turning her head slightly for the blind spots.

What she still needs to work on?:

  1. backing up and parallel parking
  2. 2 seconds at STOP signs instead of the usual 5 to 8 seconds she takes. She is slow to get moving once stopped at a STOP sign and takes too long when it is her turn to take off. Irritating drivers behind her and confusing those who’s turn is next. BEcause she is stopped longer then the usual 2 seconds once it is her turn, the guy who is next at the STOP sign, thinks she is not taking her turn and moves into the intersection, just as she is also moving into the intersection.

I told her she MUST take off within 2 seconds once her turn is up. MOVE it, get the gas going and MOVE it to avoid crossed signals.

And there is no need to look for five seconds to make sure there is no traffic coming when at a STOP sign and intending to turn right. 2 seconds should tell you if there is traffic or not. No traffic, gun the engine (we have to in the Prius C, its only got 100 HP) and get moving !

Told her she needs to make moves quickly while on the road. People here drive fast and react very quickly.

She is getting better too at avoiding potholes in the road, along with dead squirrels and the occasional raccoon (poor things).

Appts in W.creek are hard to come by. Her next one is Oct 5. But we are going back to Vacaville today (she actually just wants to go to the OUtlet shops there again) so she can book an appt. Think its only a week to the next one at Vacaville.


Better luck next time. You only truly fail when you give up taking the test again!


Thanks purple heart. Yes keeping fingers crossed for Vacaville next week.

As promised the “Critical DRiving Error” list as follows: Any one of these and its “you did NOT pass”

Intervention by examiner
Disobeys traffic sign or signal
Disobeys safety personnel or safety vehicles
Dangerous maneuver
Auxilliary equipment use (cellphone use i presume?)
Lane violation

Actually its really quite a good program they got in the USA. YOu pass your written and you are allowed one year to learn with a Learner’s permit. Which allows you to drive provided that you are with a license driver who is sitting in the front seat. And you are not allowed to carry passengers or cargo or pets , I believe.

Minors require 15 hours (going by memory here) of instruction by a certified driving school and 50 hours of instruction from a licensed driver, including a certain number of hours of night time driving, etc.

IN Indonesia you pay around 200 dollars and you get a license same afternoon. IN Taiwan you pay a similar amount and you take a course at a closed course instruction clinic. Who also does the testing for your license, I believe.

All very artificial.

IN the USA, you are out there in the streets honing your skills and then they test you. And it is actually pretty hard to pass, at least here in CAlifornia.


Well well she actually passed her test this time ! With only 5 errors !

When she and I saw she was going to have the same examiner that failed her last time in Vacaville, we thought… oh boy. But I waited inside the DMV (it was hot outside) and this time after about 20 minutes she came back inside the DMV . Which is sure sign she passed ! Because the last two times she flunked she just called me from the car, as there was no need to come inside. Coming inside gets your picture taken and a temporary LICENSE issued to you. Which means you are a fully licensed driver now. They should mail you the actual license in a few weeks.

Strangely enough, we applied for her CAlif ID about 2 months ago and have yet to receive that. Should take only 2 to 3 weeks. She may actually have her license before her ID.

That was 28 bucks (going from memory) wasted. Because most Californians use their driver license as their ID (most Americans actually). The people that usually get an ID are those who don’t and don’t plan to drive.

Now to call the insurance and add her to my policy. Hope its not too much. IF its a lot may have to wait six months or so to put her on (but she wouldnt be able to drive until she got that though).

New drivers can pay from 250 to 500 A MONTH for car insurance. It depends on your age when you first get your license. How long you have had your license and also what kind of car you drive.

If you have a license but NO insurance, you can drive someone’s car as long as they are in it, because you will be covered under their insurance.

Or you can rent a car and pay an insurance premium. Forgot what it was but it was something like 15 to 25 dollars extra per day.

So hopefully its not 500 a month. Hoping its more like the 100 that i pay, for her adding hers to mine with Triple A.

With a license and a car now, but without insurance she still can’t drive on her own.

To celebrate she bought a nice pair of Cole Haan leather joggers out at the Outlets in Vacaville. For bout 63 after tax, about a 100 dollars saving off list price.


Congrads! And having the Vacaville outlets nearby for a heavily discounted reward is a smart move. I always go there for cheap shoes when I’m in town.


Yeah for sure, I used to think of Vacaville as the “countryside” or something. LIke basically where the Orks live. Far from the truth that is. And the Outlets there are actually pretty decent. My wife thinks its nearly as nice as the Citadel shopping center in the LA area. Many good deals to be had. And yes, I think I will be going there for shoes…a lot. Unfortunately for me, i SUPINATE greatly (being the ape that I am) and shoes last me only months, not years that it lasts some people. So I am forever buying shoes. Not quite as bad as Imelda Marcos but …

So I called up the insurance company, prepared for the bad news of having to tell my wife that although she has a license AND a car, she won’t be able to drive yet because the insurance bill is ridiculous.

Praise the good Lord, its only bout 100 more per month to add her to my policy. She better not f*ck up my good record ! Tomorrow she will actually drive BY HERSELF with NOBODY in the car with her to a gig in Moraga ! Will be thrilling for her and scary for me thinking about it :stuck_out_tongue:


Its been a month and shes been driving near everyday to her gigs. She’s appreciating having a car now. And its her car , i am not allowed to drive it. Shes paying the lease and insurance and appreciating how its much less then for an Audi (for the lease, the insurance is about the same) ! Lol. She’s really come a long ways skill wise. I drive behind her sometimes when we meet up somewhere and drive home in two cars. And shes really driving very well.

Have to work on street parking , including parallel parking. That still exposes her beginner driver status.

Heck parallel parking is hard. I still have to go back and forth at times , and after decades of driving. Self parking cars are cool !

They already have some models that can help you park or even self park pretty well.

Having a big cat has its good side, like hugging while watching a scary movie on TV

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What is up with Taiwan Beer. I know the canned ones are crap. But I was looking forward to my big brown bottle of Taiwan beer I bought at the 99 Ranch to celebrate my return from my week long trip to NYC… And the beer was crap.

Is it because its an export or is Taiwan Beer in the big brown bottle now craP? it’s lost that skunk taste and smell it was known for, at least to me. I miss that skunk.

As for the NYC trip. Lucky for us, I have cousins living in NYC> So we had a very nice house to stay at and also they splurged on us and took us to two shows (plus sprunged for many many many meals) !!. One was the Rockettes at Radio City. Which must have been going on since something like 1934. But I’d never watched one and this was their Christmas edition. Well worth watching . Packed house. Zillions in the audience. Even had a live Camel as a prop. Its a 90 minute show . Worth seeing if you are in the Big Apple.

We also saw a small play .
Was much better then one may have imagined !


Our spirits were dampened by the horrible events in Paris ! It is so easy for a few suicide killers to kill hundreds at any given place, any given time it seems. NYC brought out cops with m16s , covering a lot of the major attractions.

Cousins live on LONG ISLAND. And I will not complain about BART fares now because that Long Island Railroad is much more expensive ! To travel an hour (something like 40 miles) on it costs 18 bucks peak hours and 13 bucks off peak.
Whereas our HSR in Taiwan is only about a fraction of that, our regular rail even more of a fraction. 2 bucks to Taoyuan on the regular train versus 18 bucks on the LIRR (Long Island Rail Road).

And bridge tolls? To New Jersey over the George Washington bridge is 14 bucks and the Verrazano Narrows bridge to Staten Island is 16 bucks (you only pay in one direction like bay area bridges) !!

I won’t complain about our Bay Bridge being 6 bucks at peak hours anymore, or our Golden Gate being 7 bucks.

It’s expensive living in NYC. Those poor buggers who have to commute by Long Island Rail can pay 94 a week (weekly price) for travel. This is cheaper then paying a daily 36 bucks at peak times though!

Parking? NYC parking is about 36 dollars ! That’s a lot !

So basically you have to make a very very good income to live well there. The land of multi million dollar apartments (course Taipei apartments can also be millions).

Tons, nah zillions of people everywhere. I was happy once again to return to California.

The food was good there though and prices are very competitive due to something like 14000 restaurants in NYC !!

We went to grab the Bull on Wall Street by its horns, constant line of people waiting to jump in and get a quick pic so you have to be fast. And went on the ferry to see the Statue of Liberty. Given to America by France. Fitting that the US flag is flying at half mast , in conjunction with the French flag, to remember the victims in Paris. Don’t buy online or from touts who sell you the tour at 36 bucks a head. Its only 18 bucks at the gate !!

Includes Ellis Island, worth a quick stop to see how the 12 million immigrants between 1899 to 1924 (something like that) that went through Ellis Island.

The tour is worth it so do it. Buy a week long MTA (NYC transit) pass , its cheaper that way. Otherwise its 2.75 per ride, any distance.

If you fly into JKF (what a nice airport it is now with a 24 hour airport train)> you can take the AirTrain to Jamaica station to connect with Long Island rail. or the subways. Or at the Howard Beach stop with subway connections also. This way you can get into Manhattan for 7.75. The five bucks for the AirTrain and the 2.75 to get into Manhattan on the subway. Oh and the ticket itself costs a buck, but its a usable buck.

The flight from SFO to JFK took 5 hours and took 6 back due to headwinds coming back westwards. We were bout 600 mph ground speed going , at 30,000 feet but 480 ground speed coming back at 38,000 feet. The JFK to SFO leg , non-stop is close to the upper range of 737s or A320s. Thus the need to stay high for fuel savings.

The flight over was the smoothest I have ever experienced. There was virtually no perceptible movement at all. Totally still air. Uncanny feeling.

Coming back was not like that. 2 hours of bumpity bump in the middle of relatively smooth 2 hours prior and after.

Oh and at JFK, don’t eat inside the terminal after security. There is a CENTRAL DINER . Right smack in the middle of the arrivals hall at Terminal 4. Good food at reasonable prices. NIce big fat burger at 9.99. I had a couple pieces of toast and two eggs scrambled for 4.99 and coffee was at 2.50. CHEAP. I would imagine other terminals also have some sort of eatery before you get into security.

Three hour time difference and now its near midnite NYC time although only near 9pm SF time.

Will add a few pics . Add your comments and NYC experiences !

Radio City Music Hall , where the Rockettes perform. Do you see all those people? This was just bout 15 mins before the show starts. There were not many empty seats when it did.

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Nobody kicks like the Rockettes. The girls seem all to have the same height and slim bod and kick to the exact same height.

Times Square where everyone in NYC seems to end up.

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Me and the Bull of Wall Street. Good opportunity to wear the ski jacket i bought in NYC in 2003 (still fits, yay) which i rarely wore in SF. NYC is much cooler then SF.

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Her and the lady

Never knew my cousin was such an accomplished amateur painter:


Nice write-up tommy sounds like a good vacation!
I worked on Long Island a long time ago for a short time, we used to get the train into the city on weekends, and the weekenders would be heading the other way for the hamptons and Montauk. of course some of the Wall Street types and trust funders practically spend their entire summer in the Hamptons. The conductor would roar ‘all aboard’ and we’d be off. At the time we felt it was a bit expensive but not exorbitantly so, I’ve heard Manhattan is really expensive now.
When I was there was the end of the New Yorks wild time/,
When Times Square was still a bit seedy but fun to visit none he less. There used to be pan handlers at every station. I also did the Empire State, twin towers, rockefeller, Statue of Liberty, trinity church, Central Park, moma, Greenwich village , Harlem, natural history museum and even made it out to Queens. My gf at the time was
From queens so I had a good excuse (only joking) but it was nice to see how the regular folk lived. Had never seen such a small apartment but little did I know I’d end up in the same situation in Taiwan :slight_smile:
Enjoyed a classic deli meal but did get stung by the charge! Loved the NYC pizza by the slice.
I’ve got a few other stories but I’ll save them for later.


Do tell , do tell Headhoncho . Love to hear more.

Yes, this is my 4th (or 5th, can’t remember) trip to NYC and Tammy’s first. Last time my cousin lived in Queens in a small apt. But it was right in the middle of the “action” (if one can call it that). The good thing was you were basically like in Hong Kong , with literally restaurants every inch. Like the seedy side of HK, because Queens is not pretty by any stretch of the imagination. But I see they are freshening up the place. Old buildings coming down and Apts and new stores coming up. The best thing , versus being in Long Island is that you are literally right on the number 7 subway into the rest of the network. So its something like 30 mins ride (going from memory) into downtown Manhattan.


Had a very nice Thanksgiving dinner at my bro’s as per last year. I always like Thanksgiving. Because its a nice gathering and one doesn’t have to worry about bringing presents. I brought along a bottle of Bailey’s. And that was nice so I bought a bottle for myself and polished that off in a few days. And then i read up about it and discovered that they use some sort of vegetable oil emulsion to hold the cream and the whiskey together. YUCK. So I think I am off Bailey’s now.

Vegetable oil? To hold whiskey and cream together? Did i say YUCK? Yes YUCK.

On to a brighter note… Christmas is coming. My wife has spent months literally putting together presents for our little gathering on Christmas day at my bro’s. She enjoys the whole Christmas gift giving (and more importantly receiving) thing !!
I am beyond that myself. Unless someone wants to give me a Lamborghini that I can drive. :slight_smile: Or how bout a Tesla?

So it should be fun.

On another bright note she finally can attend our local college (DVC) because she finally got accepted on a California resident basis. Very important because non-residents pay an extra something like 220 bucks per credit to study there. Although she has been here since Sept of 2013 , one has to find documents supporting over one year and one day residency in California. So a drivers license held over one year, rent agreements over one year, tax statements given over one year, phone or utilities bills over one year. That sort of thing. We were thinking it was Green Card receipt over one year. Actually not. So if we had gotten her name on utilities bills earlier she could have gone earlier. But at least she can attend English classes starting next semester. That will be helpful. Her English has improved greatly since she mainly speaks English here (except with her family on the fone). She needs work on sentence construction and grammar. Luckily she is brave enough to just use whatever she can muster to get her point across and she converses well in that respect. But needs to work on grammar and sentence construction to speak “proper” American Englishee.

Foreign residents pay through the nose. She signed up for three classes and that costs residents 322 for the three (books not included) but non residents would have to fork over another 1600 or so ! It’s not fair what they charge non residents really. Double would be strong enough but we are talking 6 times more? But we residents DO pay CAlif taxes and non residents don’t. The school has a lot of foreign students. She should be able to make some buds western and asian and what not. Especially as she will be taking English classes. Plus a yoga class (you are required to take some sort of sport / exercise class each semester).

So things are humming along well for her now. Got school coming up next year. Got a car and got some part time babysitting going on.

Next month we put in for her permanent Green Card and that will finally put to rest all that doggone paperwork and a long long journey. File for two year temp green card to become permanent. Very important, otherwise she gets kicked out of the USA. Beyond the permanent green card will be whether she wants to go for citizenship. But the green card essentially gives you all the rights of citizenship except right to vote. Only thing is if she is a citizen her parents can apply for a green card and not have to apply for visas if and when they wanted to visit. And visitors can stay only 90 days , and i think twice a year. But I think she’s happy with that. We will see years later.

Strange this year we have been consistently colder then New York city and often even colder then at Niagara Falls. I always thought that area was much colder. But it hasn’t been for the last few weeks. Maybe I am wrong. Maybe we are typically colder then New York city and Niagara?

Right now we are at 3 C and NYC is at 14C !!

Funny even though the temp is set to 74 F at home, when its cold outside the cold just seems to seep through in spite of the thermostat readings.

Here catso is curled up sleeping on the sofa with the cushion as a pillow and a blankee over him. Warm as toast keeping mommie company while she watches tv.

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What are your plans for Christmas ? World travel or visiting relatives nearby? I am glad (except for cousins in NYC) all my relatives in the USA are nearby. Wouldn’t want to travel over Christmas. Airports are a madhouse.

cAtso has that "wise, know it all " look here

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It is zero degrees C outside. And the rooftops are coated in ice, and so is the grass. The dew has frozen . I bet my car’s windows are iced up too. Too bad it seems to never rain when it gets to zero or below here, otherwise it would be snowing . Now that would be cool. For me and my wife, both BOA (born in Asia, and I don’t mean Japan and Korea or China where there is a lot of snow) !

Hope you guys had a nice time Christmas eve and day. We had a great time over at my bro’s per our usual Christmas gathering. With the usual suspects. My wife really enjoyed it (i did as well). She has been planning and buying the gifts for the last few weeks, some things she got a few months ago. And very happily it all went over very well. All the clothes she got for the gang fits and were well received. She got L’Occitane gift sets for the ladies and that went over well. I was responsible for selecting a whisky gift set only. The rest she was instrumental in getting. And happily for me, she did all the gift wrapping.

I remember in years past. I would wait until Christmas Day itself and hurry and rush over to Safeway’s supermarket and buy everyone a bottle of Champagne and then rush over to my bro’s and spend ten mins slapping on a piece of wrapping paper per bottle. Such was the level of thoughtfulness I put into those Christmas presents. Haha.

The wife takes it seriously. She plans and considers every gift and wraps each one with care and attention. The miser in myself would just wish that presents were foregone and let’s just eat and hang out ! But she loves the whole gift giving thing . Well , more importantly the receiving !

She put out her own money this time for many of the presents. It wasn’t all my money, like the last two years.

One bit of a surprise. She wanted (per last year) a bottle of perfume from me. And of course, she wanted to go and smell a bunch of perfumes to select the one for this year.

So she selected something from Chloe. A nice 120 dollar bottle. I forget the name exactly.

But she got word her Dad had to see an eye doc as he hurt himself. Poor guy , I don’t know how it happened. So she had to send more money over this month , back home. So she asked that I not buy her the perfume and instead she will send the money back home. I agreed.

I was going to surprise her anyway and get her that bottle of perfume on Christmas . But I didn’t because she agreed to sacrifice that, and I didn’t want to lessen her sacrifice. Even though she looked forward to having that particular scent this year.

Well well, one of her gifts she got was in fact the exact same bottle of perfume. Which is amazing (and i had nothing to do with it) considering how many scents and brands there are out there. Even from Chloe.

She was thrilled, to get that afterall.

The Balenciaga one she got last year was a highlight of her received gifts last year. She liked all her gifts this year as well. She got a nice Longchamps tote bag , some ear rings, etc, can’t remember all the things she got but she got a nice haul.

I got a bunch of goodies too, two scarfs , a nice bottle of Fladgate ten year old tawny and a Courvoisier VS ,nothin fancy here but good with coke. Got a nice 100 dollar gift coupon to a fancy restaurant, a Starbucks gift card, Movie theatre gift card. A lot of fancy chocolates and other munchies, etc, etc. Oh and the wife got me a nice sweater.

I am most happy i didn’t have to part with a lot of money this year, to be honest, not that i EVER parted with a lot of money. Haha ! That is what I am happy about :slight_smile: And everyone still had a great time.

Tell us what you did, done for Christmas. Don’t be shy now.

the little tiger likes his new clothes:



Typed a whole heap and then hit the wrong button and it all disappeared. Doggone.
Anyways. Did our Biometrics for the 10 year Green Card today. Did one during the 2 year Green Card application too. They make you do it again, to make sure the same person is applying.

Now hoping she will get her 10 year permanent Green Card soon. Possibly in a month or so? Hoping we sent in enough evidence of our bonafide marriage so that an interview is not required. Which we will “ace” because we are bonafide, but an extra step and time consuming.

LIke to get her new Green Card before she travels back to the home country for a planned six week vacation over the summer.

She didn’t visit the motherland all of 2015.

Our cat is learning to smile. Here you can see a hint of a smile almost rivalling mom’s:

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