Category Archives: Doc’s Pub & Resort

Open That Bottle Night Feb 25


Bajadock: Discovered this little holiday, “Open That Bottle Night“, last year.  I forget what bottle I opened that night in 2016.  Grab your best friend(s), family or neighbor(s) and enjoy an informal feast.  I may move beyond my $10-$12 bottle comfort zone and try something new that I have been saving.  “Release your wine prisoner”. Saludos!

Whether it’s the only bottle in the house or one bottle among thousands, just about all wine lovers have that very special wine that they always mean to open, but never do. This is why “Tastings” columnists Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher invented Open That Bottle Night, the world-wide celebration of friends, family and memories during which all of us finally drink that wine that is otherwise simply too special to open.

On OTBN, which is celebrated on the last Saturday of February every year, thousands of bottles all over the world are released from prison and enjoyed. With them come memories of great vacations, long-lost loved ones and bittersweet moments. The whole point of the weekly “Tastings” column is that wine is more than the liquid in the bottle. It’s about history, geography, relationships and all of the things that are really important in life.

If you plan to participate in Open That Bottle Night, here are some tips to help you make the most of it.

1. Choose the wine. This is the all-important first step. You don’t necessarily want to open your “best” wine or your most impressive wine, but the wine that means the most to you, the one that you would simply never open otherwise. Maybe it’s Grandpa’s garlic wine. You’re looking for a bottle full of memories. On the other hand, if you have, say, a 1929 Lafite that’s just sitting there, it’s tough to argue with that.

2. Stand older wine up (away from light and heat, of course) for a few days before you plan to open it — say, on Wednesday. This will allow the sediment, if there is some, to sink to the bottom.

3. Both reds and whites are often better closer to cellar temperature (around 55 degrees) than today’s room temperature. Don’t overchill the white, and think about putting the red in the refrigerator for an hour or two before opening it if you’ve been keeping it in a 70-degree house.

4. With an older bottle, the cork may break easily. The best opener for a cork like that is one with two prongs, but it requires some skill. You have some time to practice using one. Be prepared for the possibility that a fragile cork may fall apart with a regular corkscrew. If that happens, have a carafe and a coffee filter handy. Just pour enough through the coffee filter to catch the cork.

5. Otherwise, do not decant. It’s safe to assume that these are old and fragile wines. Air could quickly dispel what’s left of them. If the wine does need to breathe, you should have plenty of time for that throughout the evening.

6. Have a backup wine ready for your special meal, in case your old wine really has gone bad.

7. If you are having an OTBN party, ask everyone to say a few words about the significance of the wine they brought. This really is what OTBN is all about, sharing.

8. Serve dinner. Open the wine and immediately take a sip. If it’s truly, irretrievably bad — meaning vinegar — you will know it right away. But even if the wine doesn’t taste good at first, don’t rush to the sink to pour it out. Previous OTBN participants have said they were amazed how a wine pulled itself together and became delicious as the night wore on.

9. Enjoy the wine for what it is, not what it might someday be or might once have been.

10. Drop Dottie and John a note at wine@wsj.com about your evening. Be sure to include your name, city and phone number, in case they need to contact you so that they can share your account with other readers.

This article was adapted from a Tastings column by Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher published in January 2007.

Refrigerator Repair Wars


frig16

Hello, I am Doc’s frig.  I have not been feeling well.  Decided to go through a painful 12 step rehab program

My refrigerator, a scratch/dent Kitchen Aid of of bodacious cooling capacity became ill in December.  It had served me well since 2015 purchase and was a huge upgrade from my 2006 model purchase.

Had used a local frig repair shop for a previous model and was not satisfied with the service.  On to another shop, that I will call “A”.  “A” showed up later that same day and diagnosed the problem as likely a bad compressor.  Estimate was approx $250USD.  But, he had another tech available and would come out next day to check it out.

“A” showed up with 2 guys.  The “expert B” fussed, added one part near a valve, added freon and let me know all was good and expect freezing in 24 hours.  $75USD was the charge for the 2 calls.  Had ice for approx 3 days and left for an east coast Christmas trip on 12/24.

Upon return from Christmas vaca, frig was no longer cooling.  Who to call?  “A” for warranty work or should I simply move on to a more qualified repair tech.  Slow learning me called “A”.  He showed up next day, could not figger it out and gave up.

Looked through our local online resource for frig repair.  Called tech “C”, who was busy with other work and not available.  Called “D”, who said he would get back to me.  zzzzz.

Kept searching and talking with friends about what to do.  Apparently there are two major factors for selecting local home service providers.  1. The “lady of the house” likes him   2. He speaks English.  ?  Finding any review/referral on professionalism regarding estimate, parts availability, cash flow contract, cleanliness, promptness and other business basics were mostly non-existent.  Perhaps because our area is 45 minutes away from the city center, we hillbillies are left to beg for whatever service we can scrounge.  Or maybe this a part of Mex boycotting USA?  hah.

Back to my frig.  Decided to head down to Los Globos segunda appliance shop “El Primo” where I have purchased all of my appliances and ask for service help.  My Spanglish is sufficient, but, always better face to face than on phone.  Maria, the El Primo owner, got her tech on phone, handed phone to me and I explained the problem.  I brought a map of directions for my house and got a day and time of guesstimated arrival.

Major rain and wind storms delayed arrival.  Had to call El Primo and “Que tal?”.  New date and time.  zzzzz.

frig17truck

Off goes my frig in El Primo’s service truck

When the tech arrived, he asked me for details of the symptoms again.  He did something that all of the other techs never did.  He opened a compartment for the interior coils in the upper frig section and told me I needed a new one.  I asked how much time and how much money.  “Two or three days and 4,000-6,000MNP($200-$300USD)”.  VAMONOS!!!

Every other tech did the proctologist maneuver on my frig.  Back/bottom end was opened, futzed with it and diagnosis/fix was no bueno.  Felt like I was in a Chevy Chase “Fletch” scene with “It’s all ball bearings!”.

El Primo tech was only guy who went to the ventral view and coil suspicion fix.

frig17

On the second business day after pickup, the boys delivered, showed me the new coil, replaced all of the drawers and shelves and I had my frig back in biznez. Where were these guys 6 weeks ago?  4,500mnp, approx $220USD.

El Primo, Maria, 646-177-3177.  El Primo sells and services major appliances.

Oh, yes, we are on day 3 and frig is working.  I have ice, ice, baby!  Must have been the anti freeze?

Planes, Trains, Automobiles


Enjoyed my time in Florida with family last week.  Flew out to Orlando on Christmas Day and have had good success flying this date dozens of times.

My return trip to San Diego, just before New Year’s thrills, was a bit of adventure.  Biggest influence on that drama was the monster that had invaded my skull, aka head cold.  I’m also on drugs and woozier than normal.

My return trip morning started at 50 to get showered, pack and get my Uber ride hitched.  As the city I was visiting is a bit rural and the demographic is older, Uber is brand new.  Guessing there are only a few Uber drivers there.  Few is defined as 1 or 2? Lit up my phone to see that my Uber driver at 06:45 was available within 9 minutes of me.  Clicked “pickup” and waited for the countdown map magic.  Ummm, welll, no go.  Let’s try again.  After 3 tries and my time getting critical, gave up on GUber.

Called a taxi.  Now in this little town, taxis are also not readily available.  My call at 7am found voice mail.  Surprise, surprise, they called back in 5 minutes.  Driver showed up in 25 minutes and I was off.  Wait.  “Where are we going?” asks the seasoned citizen driver.  a) I gave that info to dispatch with difficulty as I have little/no voice.  b) Wrote the address down for the driver.  He begins to fill out a form, presumably, some type of trip report.  I point to my watch, as I had emphasized to dispatch that I needed to be at my destination at 7:45 to meet an Orlando airport shuttle.  “Oh, okay.  By the way, you really need a spray for that sore throat.  Chloraseptic is the one to get.”.  We still were not moving.  Grrrr.  Someone smarter than I could create a workflow chart showing the human steps eliminated by the Uber app vs. taxi cabs’ glacial process.

Lucky me and taxi arrived at my stop 5 minutes late to catch my shuttle van to Orlando airport.  The service I use, Villages Airport Van, is excellent and covers approx 60 miles for $40.  It’s not door-to-door for me, but, beats all other options and is comfy and professional.  Caught a nap in the back and arrived 2 hours before my flight.  Tugged out my wad of dollars and pesos to give the driver a $5 tip and got in a line of about 40 passengers at curbside checkin.  Wait.  Reached into my left front pocket for my cash.  Nada.  Against TSA spanking threats, I abandoned my bag and went back out into 3 lanes of traffic.  Fluterring on the concrete were 3 separate folds of cash.  It was approx $300usd.  Lucky recovery.  Trick was that I was wearing golf rain pants with pocket openings.  Apparently, I stuffed my wad back into the rain paint opening, but, not into the true pocket of my shorts underneath.

Orlando can be quite a thrilling airport this time of year.  Love TSA pre with coats, shoes, belts and laptops not needing special treatment.  Makes you wonder why the regular TSA lanes need to jump through those hoops.  Settled into my seat in back row of Southwest direct flight to SAN to minimize my cold’s impact.  Chatty seat mate wanted a “first date” style interview.  Pointed to my throat.  Wait for it.  “You know, Chloraseptic spray is the only thing that works for me”.  Where do they find these people?

Arrived in San Diego on time, checked bag appeared with 20 minutes and Uber was working at SD airport.  Man, that place is a cluster.  Every other Uber driver in San Diego has a Prius?  Got to my car park easily, did my grocery shopping and crossed the border at 4PM with approx a 20 minute wait to get into Tijuana this Friday.  Got home at 6pm-ish and settled into an electrified home.  Had reports of a power outage early in the day.

Thrilled to be healing and resting at home.  I have a newly repaired frig full of food and plenty of time to catch up with my friends.  Oops.  Went to my freezer to get some ice for my knee.  It was great if you like your ice at room temp.  Looks like I need a different frig repair dude.

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Great news is that my dog did not die and my wife has not left me.  Cheers to your health in 2017.

Holiday Single Status Smiles


bridgewinter

Dear Coupledom(for my married friends),

We singles know that we don’t fit into your social paradigm.  We have our reasons.  Like that last friend of yours that you tried to inflict upon me.  Hmmm, stick to your Velveeta nacho concoctions, Cupid.  They are the bomb!

          mejor solo que mal acompañado

So before you attempt to rescue, influence and heal(conjure your best southern faith healer) us happy singles with your romantic whims, here are my top ten things to avoid and simply relax with us singles this Christmas:

1. ” Oh, you must be Judy!” is not the best first intro line to my female guest that you have not yet met.  Guessing names has consequences. Her retort: “You must be Doc’s neighbor with the big Velveeta inventory!”.

2. “Do you still keep in contact with ______?” to me about an ex or “Have you met Doc’s old girlfriend ______?” to my guest could be the highlight of the evening discussion.  Gossip about my snuffed flames and recently shared lab reports can wait until the sheets are changed, Hop Sing.

3. “He is such a recluse, he never socializes with anyone.”.  Hmmm a) just because I don’t hang with YOU, does not make me anti-social  b) Thanks for being such a solid wing man/woman by highlighting my best character traits  c) Why did I say yes to your party?  Was it the 3 Buck Chuck, Otis Campbell?

4. “Do you truly love him?” to my guest.  OUCH.  WTF kind of judgement question is that all about?  “When is the wedding?”, “How soon is conception?” and “What is your safe word?” are in this category.  Asking about my “status” with my guest is about as appropriate as my “Have you two reconciled your wife’s flings with the neighbors?” to you. Pssst, the neighbors tell me that you are missing out on your wife’s talents, Dr Phil.

5. “She’s single.  You’re single.” are the deep thinking analytics that most marrieds use to cross-pollinate their single friends.  The new dating site “Noah’s Ark” also uses this criterion.  Repeat: stick to the food/wine pairings, Chuck Barris.  Most of us are not lonely and enjoy our friends.  We prefer our happy lives rather than getting the parchment on the wall declaring some official and socially acceptable title.

6. “Should we get you a date for our traditional gathering or can you find someone all by your pathetic self?”.  Wowzillas.  If my guest status is not welcome as a single, I prefer to stay home knitting my afghan and sipping my porridge while watching “Burl Ives Christmas Carols” on my VCR.

         How about we take this to the bedroom?…I whispered to my snacks.

7. If I do bring a guest to your extravaganza, please ease up on the interrogation.  Let your need-to-know impulse yield to welcoming and accommodating the newest guest to your home.  I’ll ask her to bring resume copies and a urine sample, Detective Friday.

8. “How did you meet?” is perfectly ok and can be fun.  “How many dates did it take to ______?” was asked last year.  Gadzooks, back to #4, that status curiosity is a no-fly zone.  Later that night, it can also be the place where boners go to die.  Watchit, cuz I might come back with “So, Joe, Sue tells me you guys did it twice last month.  Is that a new record, studboy?”.

 

9.  Cornering me at the party with coupledom advice like the restaurant to take her, when to, how to and “Don’t blow it” is sort of complimentary.  But, taking advice from someone that has been married for 25 years about dating is a lot like getting marriage advice from the catholic priest. “Bless me father, for I am single.  So does the wine work more effectively on the nuns or the altar boys?”.

10. Does it really cost $10,000 in diamonds every Christmas to show her that you care, Jared?  And it’s $1,000 minimum just to begin with a kiss, Kay?  Us single guys really want to know.

This post will assure that invitations contemplated for me have been canceled this Christmas season.  But FLEAS NAVYDAD to you and yours.  I make a delicious porridge.

Bajadock, Certified Lover, not Fighter, Cheers

Turkey Spinach Enchiladas


pubpavodec16

                          by Staff Food Editor, Cali Cucaracha  calicucaracha

My turkey week was a busy one with wine and song.  The women were smart enough to abandon me.  Hey, ladies, with my good looks, humor and cooking skills, I can’t have it all.

But, I can have my own turkey, shown here.  Cooked this 25lb bird in a cooking bag for 4 hours at 350 Friday night.  My test for turkey readiness is the ease of pulling off the leg.  Got it right again.

I did enjoy a proper turkey dinner on 24 Nov including salad, broccoli, spuds and a terrific dressing stuffed Portobello.  Thanks to friends S&P for that taste fest.  Avoided the razzleberry jam.

But, the best part of Thanksgiving is the carcass cremains and endless recipe possibilities of peasant food enjoyment. So, 88.1%(that’s for Denver KADX FM jazz fans and my friend TGT) of the time, I cook my own selfish bird for leftover passion first week of December.

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Here is my baking pan of the turkey ooze percolating with fresh thyme, rosemary and oregano.  Flour, Kitchen Bouquet, celery and onion were also added to the pool this time.

I saved most of this batch for future ideas, but, put aside approx 1 quart as a base for my chili verde.

Yep, I short-cutted the chili roasting, peeling and all.  Herdez makes a fine batch of jarred chili verde, so I shamelessly added Herdez green juice to my turkey drippage.  Guessing I was about half and half on chili verde/turkey gravy goop mix.

Added shredded turkey white, dark, mezclado meat plus Monte Jack cheese, cilantro and “Hold On, I’m CUMIN”(that’s comino spice) into the tortillas.  Spinach leaves are an easy add and they love spooning with the turkey while baking.

Black beans are always a good mix for me with chicken and turkey.  Somehow, I resisted that delightful temptation this time.  Did not need spinach jealousy.

Pour your green gravy sludge over the birds in their blankets before oven insertion.

Baked the batch of enchiladas for approx 20 minutes, then added black olives, cilantro, avocados, toms and crema as serving garniche.

Hey, Doc, wheretheheck are the portion measurements for all of this stuff?  Well, I don’t measure in between the tablespoons and lined beakers.  Dollops, sprinkles, smearings and handfuls are my guides.  Taste, smell and touch move my recipes.

Wine snobs will insist upon NZ Sauvignon Blanc or Italian Pinot Grigio as a pairing for you and your hot date, Topo Gigio.

But, I simply hauled out a grenache blend from the Valle de Guadalupe.  Did not swirl it, did not sip it, did not spit.  Just drank it from a juice glass.  Of course, this was after a few lagers to have my palate adjusted to the proper attitude.

turkeyenchverde

So ladies, if you’re feeling cold and lonely, call me. I’m your winter weather wizard warmer para sobras sensuales.

Mattress Update


The Perfect Cloud giant burrito, just before unwrapping

After 2 months sleeping on my new Perfect Cloud mattress, I am very happy and have an update.

The Perfect Cloud is one of dozens of fairly new foam mattress choices and you can see most of them reviewed here:

https://www.mattress-guides.net/our-mattress-reviews/

Subjectively, my former waterbed was a 6-7 out of 10 in firmness.  Ths new “Cloud” was a 9 in firmness comparison.  I liked the new feel, but, was not quite accustomed to it.  Upon a little reading, a breatheable mattress topper, not more foam, is an option to slightly soften a mattress.

Just installed this mattress topper.  After a week, have improved my sleep and comfort.  It hit exactly the right balance between firm support and comfort wanted.  Ahhhh.

https://www.amazon.com/Extra-Bamboo-Fitted-Mattress-Topper/dp/B008URGSWO

One thing about all of these new mattresses, like Casper, Leesa and Tuft&Needle that I compared.  The 100 day sleep guarantee can be problematic if you no likey and need to return.   See that 144 lb king size burrito in top photo?  It doubles in volume with a couple of hours of unwrapping.  That’s a whole lotta toothpaste to cram back in the tube and figger out a way to repackage and ship back to the manufacturer.

Sweet Dreams!

Taco and Cerveza Observacion


Tacos al Pastor are my favorite and above video provides you a fun recipe for Do It Yourself T.A.P. if you can’t make it to Baja.

by staff Financial Analyst, Maynard G. Krebbs maynardgkrebbs

With this week’s big drop in the Mexican peso value, you gringos just got a gift for your next Baja visit.  I’ll call this the Taco and Cerveza Observacion(TACO) economy.  Observe studiously my friends!

Our T.A.C.O. economic study unit is one beer and 2 tacos.  Yes, we are aware that some of our high energy students may guzzle 2 or 3 of these “units” in one setting.  But, we will stick with the 1 beer+2 taco standard for our analysis.

trailerosmpveg

Typical beef, pork or chicken taco runs 13-18 pesos.  Included are the yummy veggies and salsas at the best taco shops.  We will use a 15 m.n.p. per taco standard.

A six pack of most Mexican lagers runs approx 75mnp.  Divide by 6 and we arrive at 15 mnp per bottle of suds.

Keep up with me here, grasshopper!  No chapulines allowed here:  2 tacos = 30 ; 1 beer = 15 brings us to 45 pesos per T.A.C.O. unit.

45    x   .048(Nov 12 exchange rate) = $2.16USD for an excellent lunch, dinner, breakfast.

Just 5 years ago, those 45 pesos x .083 = $3.73USD.

In related news, my Pacifico Ballenas, at 276mnp for 12 x 940ml bottles now work out to $.42USD per 12 ounces.  Ties an all time low during my decade in Baja.  WOOHOO.  Thanks for simple pleasures.

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Sure, there are many other economic and social impacts during these stormy days in Mexico.  But, what better way to ponder your troubles and fortunes than enjoying a beautiful Baja setting in the mountains, valleys and beaches with some friends for $2.16 US in 2016?

Please share your “studies” with us, including the flavors, people and fun on your adventures.

Cheers, Bajadock.

Champagne Showers


by Bajadock

Who the heck decided that it was a good idea for athletes to take a winemaker’s delicious sparkling bubbles of hard labor and spray them around like feral cats marking their territory?

I suppose that multi million dollar incomes make the $40+USD bottles a minor expense.  But, have some respect for the time, energy, care, science and art put into the soil to glass process.

Maybe spraying a bottle of Coke or Dr Pepper doesn’t have the same cache as Veuve Cliquot.

According to writer and photographer Beverley Byer, there are a few people who claim they were the first to celebrate with a Champagne shower.

1967 24 Hours of Le Mans champion Dan Gurney claims he deserves credit for starting the tradition. After he won the auto race, overwhelmed with excitement, he sprayed himself and everyone around him with Champagne. An article published on All American Racersquotes Gurney, who states that was so thrilled, he felt an urge to shake a bottle of Moët that was given to him after winning.    thedailymeal.com

At least the stupid Gatorade shower is only wasting colored sugar water.

My past experience with champagne and sparkling wines has been limited to a couple of glasses per year for celebrating something fun.  My first experience with Veuve Cliquot was during a limo ride with my family on the way to the Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs celebrating a couple of family birthdays.  It was quite a fun party.

Thanks to friends new and old, I have begun an appreciation of sparkling wines and am enjoying the education.  And just like other wine, bubbly does not require you to shoot your wad of pesos on one bottle of fun.  This article from drinks.seriouseats.com provides a handful of sparkling samples from around the world for less than $20USD.

There are also a few wineries in our Valle de Guadalupe that have recently begun processing sparkling wines.  Will report on those soon.

My favorite wine shop in San Diego, San Diego Wine Company,  has steered me into some wonderful new grape juice flavors in the past year.  Next up for taste sensation is Graham Beck Sparkling Rose.  

Rather than waste those flavors by spraying them all over the party, will sip and savor every single drop, bubble and taste.  Yummm.

When it comes to bubbles, what’s yours?

 

 

CFE Rescue


 

pubcfewire16

Two weeks ago, the bracket holding my electrical wiring coming from the transformer to my house failed due to 9 years of rust.  The result was that my wiring was dangling only 8 feet above street level and in serious need of Super Viagra for future performances. 😉  (green circle is of my neighbors more desired “stiff” position)

pubcfewirefix

This was my DIY fix a few weeks ago to tighten up(Archie Bell and the Drells) my wiring and keep it from shocking construction trucks and other vehicles.

Wednesday, my neighbor had an electrical outage at her house.  Her electric bills were paid in full.  Luckily, another neighbor had a qualified electrician to diagnose the problem.  His educated guess was that the problem was either at the box or a CFE problem.  CFE was summoned at approx 10AM, thanks to neighbor J.  Got a quote of between 1 and 10 hour response.

hideyocfe16

CFE truck and 2 techs showed up at 3PM.  Nice. My neighbor without electricity was gone, but, the techs showed me the electrical box problem.  The local electrician also was on hand to negotiate CFE turning off the electricity to neighbor’s house so that he could replace the box.

Back to my situation, it seems that CFE is responsible for electricity to your electrical box.  Me, the homeowner is responsible from the box and inward to my house.  But, these techs were kind and sympathetic to my weak fix of 2 weeks ago.  They produced the bracket that I needed and got their cherry picker over to me pronto for fix.

pubcfe16cherry

While up there they noticed my next door neighbor’s fried electrical wiring at his pole.  That neighbor also happened to be away this afternoon.

peebrahcfe

Does this look like a solid electrical connection to you?  I’m surprised I did not see them glowing in the dark.  These look worse than xrays of my knees.  I’m guessing me neighbor’s electrical bills may be happier in future.

pubcfe16soporte

Here is the CFE fix on my pole.

Everyone, regardless of the country, complains about the customer service of their utility companies.  Today, Comision Federal Electricidad:

a) showed up within 5 hours of our call

b) provided helpful diagnosis and assistance for our initial electical outage at neighbor #1

c) noticed the fried electrical connection at neighbor #2 while addressing my issue and rewired that neighbor’s connection

d) Provided a new bracket for my fix and did the job quickly, even though it was arguably my problem.

e) That’s 3 house electrical fixes in less than an hour of arrival and with smiles.

Thank you CFE.  Sent them away with my thanks and some cold cervezas.  While they can’t drink on job, they’ll have fun with those later tonight.

 

 

 

Passport Renewal


My thrilling trip to Italy this summer ended with my passport leaving me at O’Hare Airport on 1 July.  Could not find it recently and Chicago immigration point after Rome to ORD flight was last time I had it in my hand.

So, off we go to figger out replacement.  Last time I lost it in 2009, made an appointment at my trusty little post office in Imperial Beach, CA and had new passport in a couple of weeks, EZ.

It took 2 hours one morning this week to get on the phone to get through to the Imperial Beach PO.  Contact person, not Owney, the official Post Office mascot in photo right, told me that they no longer handle passports and gave me an 800#.  BARK, GROWL!

Called the 800#, with tail dragging, low expectations.  Result was even lower.  “Please leave your name and phone number, so that we can call you back to make an appointment for your passport.”.

Good Gawd, could you invent more inefficiency than this?  Well, Amtrak comes to mind.

Why would you not have an online pasport application?  Fill out the form, attach a recent photo jpg, Paypal or credit card the fee and within a week, ok 2?, go to designated guvmint office with ID and pick up your new passport.

Heck, credit card companies handle this within 1 hour to 24 hours to give you an answer on your credit worthiness and mail your new card for shopping pronto.

Imagine calling an airline, bookstore, computer retail shop, “Sheets, Shower Curtains and Spoons” store or “Wine and Sex Toy” vendor and coming to the dead end of “If you leave a message, we will call you back”.  That is nearly as fatal as the famous Microsoft blue screen of death.

Astonishing news flash!  The passport clerks called me back the same day.  And they had the best news ever.  “This is the passport appointment center.  If you still need help, call us back, at 1 800 800 one 9800 one.  Thanks a lot.”

geewillickers and goshdarnits.  That was so kind of them to invite me to call them again(wtf is up with that 800-801-9800-1 phone #?) so that I could leave another message for them to call me back.  Guess it’s a shovel ready jobs project to have a phone bank of clerks instead of a user-friendly website.  Speakin of shovels, my favorite take on bureaucracies comes from economist Milton Friedman:

The story goes that Milton Friedman was once taken to see a massive government project somewhere in Asia. Thousands of workers using shovels were building a canal. Friedman was puzzled. Why weren’t there any excavators or any mechanized earth-moving equipment? A government official explained that using shovels created more jobs. Friedman’s response: “Then why not use spoons instead of shovels?”  typepad.com

But, guvmint bureaucratic sludge spawns entrepreneurs.  There now exist agencies, non guv, who will “expedite” your new passport for a fancy fee.  OK, if I were headed off to Thailand or Barcelona soon, I might jump on an expeditor.  But, it’s just me, an overfed, long haired, leaping gnome, needing a passport for my next undesignated adventure next year.

For whatever reason, I decided to continue an online search approach for my replacement passport.  Good fortune was mine, as I found a website showing a handful of locations in San Diego that still do the passport thing.  Chula Vista library at the Otay Lakes shopping mall does it all.

Called the library, was greeted pleasantly, told I did not need an appointment and please bring a check for the service.  When was the last time I was in a library?  I look forward to seeing what a library has to offer in 2016.

curmudgeon

Will report back on my experience and turnaround time for application to delivery.

 

written by Crusty Curmudgeon, our staff chronic whiner

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