A hotel is more like a house than an iPhone. My iPhone works very consistently. I plug it in at night so that it won’t run out of batteries during the day, but other than that I expect to do no maintenance on it. I know that one day it will die and I will need another. I know that for some short interval leading up to the day of it’s demise, it’s function will start to fail and that that will not mean that I should go get it fixed, but that I should get rid of it and move on to my next iPhone.
A house, on the other hand, needs more or less constant maintenance. You fix the sink and then the roof needs new tiles. Get the roof patched up and then notice a giant stain on the carpet. There’s always something to be either taking care of or meaning to take care of very soon. Still, though, a house is expected to last through several lifetimes. Very, very few people in this world let the problems with their house accumulate until they can’t stand it anymore, and then get rid of it and move onto another house.
All that to say this: Things are constantly going wrong at this hotel. Does it seem strange to admit this? It’s true, though. True and natural and unavoidable. The toilets are going to get stopped up and the curtains are going to get little rips in them. Plants are living things that sometimes just decide to get depressed and droopy for a while. Everything is fixable and we have plenty of staff and resources to take care of it all (though depressive plants are harder, admittedly) but many things can go wrong without our knowing it. If something is bothering you, just tell us and we’ll take care of it. Treat us the way you treat your house, something that you’re going to have a long, enduring relationship with, not your iPhone, which you’re going to keep until it’s got too many tics and you’ve got to throw it in the garbage. We would like to be the hotel you pass on to your kids, and we’re willing to do a lot to try to make that happen.
It seems safe to say that this little hotel can boast of a pretty intelligent clientele. You all, our guests, are bright people doing the work that’s bringing us into the future, so there’s no doubt that you’ve got some intellectual strength. Still, though, do you ever wonder just how smart you are? You know, like in comparison to everyone else milling around the Silicon Valley? Well, if so, I have a way to satisfy your curiosity. Every Monday night at the San Pedro Square Market, there’s a pub quiz. Topics vary, so you can go online and be sure to only go on a night you can dominate, or just show up, secure in your mastery of all knowledge everywhere. It’s up to you.
A pub quiz is a great thing, too, because if you find that, say, everyone around is, surprisingly, just as sharp, or even sharper than you are and your whole world view is suddenly crumbling around you, consolation is immediately on hand. Not to be too big an advocate for drinking away your pain, but if you were so inclined it’s right there for you. Likewise, if you sweep through and take out all opponents without breaking a sweat, buying a round of drinks for the room is a very neat little way to both boast and console in a single gesture.
If you do decide to go, let us know how it goes. We’re also a little interested in how our guests stack up against the rest of the valley’s brainiacs.
How many of you have noticed that Adam is always working? He does a variety of different jobs, so it might be possible to not quite make the connection, but suffice it to say, Adam is always working and it’s been this way for years. He works as many double shifts as he can and even sneaks in the occasional, illegal triple shift. Sometimes some effort is made to make him calm down, back off, go easy on himself, but it’s wasted breath. Adam is a man with a passion.
What, you ask, is this fire burning in our most ubiquitous front desk worker? Adam is a racecar driver, which turns out to be a very expensive sport. The car needs constant, costly repairs, I guess due to being pushed to its limit every time it goes out, not to mention crashed around a bit and though the goal is sponsorship and having someone else pay for it all, the only way to get there is to spend a long time paying for it all yourself. So Adam works. And works and works and works. And when he’s not here working, he’s someplace working on his car. All for little short bursts of driving, every now and then. Those shorts bursts must be amazing.
If you’re interested in learning more about racing cars, or if you’d like to see a guy talk about something he’s very passionate about, now’s a great time to go have a chat with Adam. The season is on and he’s been winning and a fun conversation is there to be had.
There’s a place at the San Pedro Square Market that deserves an award. Not that it’s the best food you’re going to find, though the food is fun and interesting and certainly worth finding. What this place should get is an award for the best name. CaliDog, it’s called. So clear, so concise and yet so very descriptive. Go to CaliDog and get yourself an all-American hot dog, topped with the classic condiments of one of the vast array of cultures represented here in the Bay Area. Japanese style, for example, features seaweed. Yes, seaweed on a hot dog! Another one, called the SalsaDog, is drowning in shrimp ceviche. If all this is too overwhelming, they’ve also got a chilidog on standby, but why not have an adventure?
This place, in making their nutty hot dogs, has made itself into such a great symbol of how we live here in California. We are a collection of lots of different people from lots of different places, doing what we can to keep traditions alive, trying to maintain the comforts of home in a new country, getting to sample from everything that everyone else has brought and getting to work out some new version of how all those thing can fit together. To take the hot dog, one of the ultimate staples of Americana, and let people choose whether they want it Japanese, Vietnamese or Mexican style is such a sweet little act of cultural meshing and it really feels like how we live around here. One of the great beauties of the Bay Area is spectacular, unlikely juxtaposition and how well it can come out. This hot dog stand is a fantastic example of that.
Sparkling wine isn’t necessarily a staple at our bar, but we’ve always got a bit floating around for special occasions and you can always request a bottle or two if you’ve got something worth toasting. And whenever we bring out the bubbly, it’s Chandon. We love Chandon and you will probably not ever find another sparkling wine in this hotel.
Well, this is the 40th anniversary of the Chandon Winery and so it’s been in the news. Turns out it was the first California winery opened by a French company, a big experiment because the French didn’t trust that the Americans had a discerning enough palate to appreciate a high quality product that they would have to pay money for. What a bunch of jerks! And yet the company that started Chandon is the same company that makes Dom Peringnon and in spite of the fact that they did it with such obscene snobbery and condescension, they brought us such a beautiful sparkling wine.
It’s been long enough, now, and the French have long since had to admit that we know how to handle our wine out here in the Wild West. It’s OK to love a French wine, even more so to love a California wine made by a French company and even more so to love a wine made using all the knowledge of Dom Perignon, but priced and located in such a way that we don’t have to feel like it’s a scarce rarity that can only come out on the occasion of winning a Nobel Prize or something. Have I justified this enough for us to all continue on with our Chandon affair? I hope so, because I don’t want to give it up.