20 signs you learnt to drink in the Bay Area


1. Your battered Pliny The Elder T-shirt is a badge of honor, yet you rarely drink IPAs anymore; your children may have a similar garment that reads: “Tiny Pliny”.

2. Your maintenance brew is more likely to read Modelo, Tecate, or Pacifico, than Bud, Miller, or Coors.

3. You’ve been to Sayulita, but your next Mexico excursion is more likely to feature mescal tasting in Oaxaca.

4. Binge drinking and “getting weird” are synonymous.

5. You’ve singed your pasty epidermis after one too many daiquiris at the Coppola Pool. Meanwhile, fog plagues your neighborhood in San Francisco.

6. As a teenager, you listened to Primus. As an adult, you sip Purple Pachyderm.

7. Your buzz-train has come off the rails after ONE margarita at the Latin American Club.

8. You celebrated with a Trailer Park Punch when Doc’s Clock was saved by the Legacy Business Registry.

9. You quietly lament the demise of The Lucky Penny.

10. You’ve staved off blindness by raiding the popcorn machine at the Mucky Duck.

11. You’ve hooked up with someone you met in an Uberpool.

12. You know WAY too much about brewing, distillation, and viticulture. You would never draw attention to this at Pittsburgh’s, but you just had a good rant with the bartender up the street at Outerlands.

13. You’ve sworn off Fernet Branca in all its manifestations; you have a mortifying tale of debauchery to fortify your resolve.

14. Your Stanley Adventure Flask has proven a loyal companion at Hardly Strictly, Breckenridge, Camp 4, First Friday Oakland, AT&T Park, The Great American Music Hall, and Ocean Beach bonfires.

15. You had a phase where you were really passionate about Bingotopia at The Knockout.

16. You may have sipped expensive Sonoma Coast pinot noir from a titanium backpacking pot at the Willow Creek Environmental Campground after bouldering at Goat Rock.

17. You’ve been thumped back to shore attempting to paddle out for a surf at Ocean Beach during a meaty groundswell the morning after Motown on Monday’s at Madrone.

18. The bottle cages on your bicycle have secured more tall boys than water; your backpack may even be custom insulated to be utilized as a cooler.

19. You rekindled your passion for vinyl at the Royal Cuckoo and burned a paycheck at Aquarius Records.

20. You’ve had a Sazerac soaked debate about “your friend” who makes the best cocktails in “The City”!


Travel Troubleshooter: This BritRail pass refund request has gone off the rails

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DEAR TRAVEL TROUBLESHOOTER: I bought a fully refundable BritRail pass, which gives you the ability to travel across the entire national rail network of Great Britain, for a trip last spring. I had to cancel my vacation after the COVID-19 outbreak.

Christopher Elliott, the Travel Troubleshooter

Under the terms of my purchase, I could get a full refund if I was within 11 months of my purchase date (which I was). I asked my travel agent for a refund. A representative said that the company was experiencing delays and suggested that I call back in a few weeks. I did.

Despite repeated assurances that I would receive a refund, I have not. I understand the reason why there might have been some delays. But it’s been three months since the agency has returned to full staffing and six months since my original request. Processing a refund is hardly a complicated process. Can you help me get my $244 back?

— Stephen Wilkes, Chagrin Falls, Ohio

ANSWER: Wow, your BritRail refund request really went off the rails. Of course, your travel agent should have processed a quick refund. So why didn’t it?

First, you are absolutely correct. Under the terms of your purchase, you should be able to get a full refund. BritRail notes that it will refund your purchase if “the unvalidated Pass or original exchange coupon or voucher is returned to the office from which it was purchased within 11 months from the date of issue (unless a different time period is specified by your travel agent). Passes or tickets must bear no evidence of having been tampered with in any way.”

You definitely qualified. But you made your purchase through ACPRail International, a travel agency that specializes in air/rail bookings. So, as you already noted, you had to wait for the agency to return to its offices after the outbreak. But then the agency had to ask BritRail to return your money. And it, too, was experiencing a slowdown — everyone was.

I think you could have appealed this first to the agency and then to BritRail. Our research team could have helped you find the right person at both companies. (Our services are free.)

If neither of the parties responded, you could have disputed your credit card charges under the Fair Credit Billing Act. Your bank should have processed a swift refund.


Many things that have changed since Walt Disney World reopened its gates in the summer of 2020. Out of all the changes, the new Disney Park Pass Reservation system stands as one of the biggest changes to the Disney vacation experience. For better or for worse, gone are the days where you could just figure …


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Deadly outbreak of salmonella reported among Bay Area songbirds

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An outbreak of salmonella infection in songbirds has led one Bay Area wildlife rescue to sound the alarm, asking residents to immediately take down their feeders if they see dead or ailing birds in their yard or neighborhood.

WildCare’s Wildlife Hospital in San Rafael treats hundreds of songbirds every year that suffer from bacterial infections they contract at bird feeders. Since Jan. 1, they’ve taken in 42 pine siskins, all ill with salmonellosis. The majority of the birds were beyond saving.

Because the birds travel freely throughout the Bay Area, the disease can spread to areas that are not yet infected.

Alison Hermance, WildCare Director of Communications, says because of the deadly nature of the bacterial infection and the speed and ease with which it spreads at feeders and baths, people need to act immediately if they see signs of trouble.

Songbirds sick with salmonellosis may be fluffed and lethargic, Hermance says, and they may sit with their eyes closed. Sick birds will often be the last to fly off if the flock startles.

Even if people don’t see sick or dead birds, Hermance says, the rescue center is asking that people clean and sanitize — with bleach — their bird feeders every other day or, at the very least, weekly.

As with humans and COVID-19, songbirds spread salmonellosis to other birds easily. The Salmonella bacteria primarily transfer through contact with fecal matter.

Large groups of birds at feeders and baths provide the perfect opportunity for spreading salmonellosis. Taking down the feeders encourages the birds to forage in a wider area and to be socially distant, making it less likely the disease will spread.

Seed-eating songbirds that are common visitors to backyard feeders including pine siskins, goldfinches and purple finches, which also are especially susceptible to salmonellosis.


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