Monday, July 30, 2012

Little Alcatraz

It's the same idea as Little Italy or Chinatown, only with Alcatraz.  And Little Alcatraz isn't a neighborhood, it's your house.  So, there would be lots of Little Alcatrazes.  On a side note, why is not called Little China, or conversely, Italytown?  Anyway, we'll worry about that another time.

The Reader's Digest version of "What is Alcatraz?" is that it's the prison where there worst of the worst were sent.  That is to say, if you were sent to prison for a serious crime and were unable to not be obnoxious or a nuisance and were an all around a**hole, they then sent you to Alcatraz.  You can look up more details about the prison on your own (or better yet, go visit) but I wanted to at least share with you the brilliant way they ran the place.  Whistle-focused people management.  The guards on the floor had only a whistle to maintain order as it was too risky to let weapons be anywhere near these inmates.

Whistle-controlled Little
Alcatraz doesn't seem so
harsh now,  does it?
"That's kind of like my house," I thought to myself.  That's when the Little Alcatraz idea started to percolate.  On top of being directed via the whistle, the inmates had a set of rules that had to be followed.  We learned some of them on the tour, and then I bought a deck of cards with all the rules printed on them.  Eureka!!!  New child-management system.  Alcatraz's rules are perfect for keeping criminals, as well as kids, in line.

I have selected the 10 rules to share with you that I found the most important/useful.  The only thing about these rules that need to be altered is that "cell" should be "room" and "cellhouse" should just be "house."  Oh yeah, and I guess you should call your kids "kids" not "inmates."  But, that's your choice.  Also, after I am done writing this post, I will give my kids the playing cards to use so that they can easily acclimate themselves to the rules in a fun and pleasant manner.

Top 10 Rules to be Adopted for Little Alcatraz
1.     Keep your cell neat clean and free from contraband.
2.     You earn your privileges by conducting yourself properly.
3.     You are not permitted to wear your hair in a unusual manner or have any special haircut except as authorized by the Associate Warden.
4.     You are expected to bathe in a reasonable length of time.
5.     If you become ill at any time, notify an Officer and you will receive medical attention.  Do not make unnecessary disturbances.
6.     Do not jostle or indulge in horseplay with others.
7.     At the wake-up bell in the morning you must get out of bed and put on your clothes.
8.     At 9:30 p.m. lights out, retire promptly.  All conversation and other noises must cease immediately.
9.     You are entitled to food, clothing, shelter, and medical attention.  Anything else you get is a privilege.
10. At no time will you play any wind instrument in the cellhouse.

Totally perfect, right!?!?  I can't help but think though that if the Alcatraz inmates had been able to follow rules like these early on, they might not have been in Alcatraz in the first place.  But, by starting early with our own inmates children, we are helping to lessen the future prison population, no?  I can already see Little Alcatrazes popping up all over the place.

Besides this awesome new child-management plan, I had a few other thoughts on our trip to San Francisco.  I will start by getting back to the weather.  Besides the whole "microclimate" thing, I don't understand why it seemed like the few people who did seem to actually be from San Francisco didn't know how to deal with the weather.  

Winter parka in July equals
Glamour Fashion Don't
I understand that we all think July is supposed to be warm, but all the natives seem to know it's not; that temperatures can be in the 60s during the day.  Okay, yes, that's a little chilly.  It is, however, NOT ski jacket or wool coat weather.  And let me tell you, it wasn't just one or two people I saw like this.  Wool scarves and ski hats people?  Really?  Are you all elderly people from Florida who are used to 95 degree weather with humidity and this is a big shock to your systems?

Putting aside the fact that it's really just not that cold and you are being dramatic, you aren't dressing properly for cold weather in summer.  Summer is the key word here.  We do not wear parkas in summer.  Or wool coats.  If it's cold we wear assorted cotton-type layers.  A sweatshirt perhaps.  If you are really shivering, long sleeve and short sleeve shirt then the sweatshirt.  A nice cotton cardigan is always nice.  Try a denim jacket with a fun cotton scarf.

Here in the east, when we get a warm day in February, we roll our eyes at the people who think 55-60 degree weather warrants shorts and tank tops.  You know why?  Because those are not winter items.  Just like no white after Labor Day; no winter coats after March and no shorts after October.  Appropriate seasonal layers people.  Layers.

Another thing, San Francisco is not Seattle, so what's with the Starbucks on every corner?  And sometimes then in the middle of the same street.  No lie, they are everywhere!  The Party and I considered making seeing a Starbucks a drinking game, but it didn't seem like a good idea to be drinking that much on the street.

Speaking of drinking, you are apparently allowed to do it on the train.  The only rule seems to be that it can't be after 9pm.  The Party and I went to a Giants game in SF.  We took the CalTrain (not cow train, which is totally what I thought the hotel guy was telling us and I couldn't imagine why they would possibly call it the cow train).  It is a double decker train, which seemed cool, until you try to go up to the upper level.  Teeny tiny spiral staircase up to a single line of chairs.  Someone can't get down if someone else is trying to get up (design flaw that no one checked with me about before building).

Anyhoo, while we are waiting for the train, there are signs up and down the track announcing an assortment of things, including that there will be no open alcohol containers allowed on the train after 9pm.  Long story short (I know, too late) you can tailgate on the train on your way to the ballpark.  Why?  Why would anyone encourage this?  People packed in like sardines on a train who are getting drunk and loud - where is the up side?  Also, let's not forget that we have drinkers on level 2 of the train who can lean over with their drinks.  That just spells fist fight and/or spinal cord injury.  Safety first people.  Safety first!

THESE are fries worth
waiting in line for!
Something else you should keep in mind if you visit SF and go see a Giants game; they have pretty lame concession stands.  People were lined up, lined up, for garlic fries.  Uh, hello, garlic fries?  They are good enough, but they are not wait-in-line good.  They are just regular fries with some minced garlic dumped on top.  No mixing in.  No cheese sauce.  In Philadelphia, you can get Crab Fries.  Deliciously seasoned with bay seasoning and you get a side of a creamy cheese sauce.  Yum.  

The only thing left to tell you about San Francisco is that you needn't bother to comb your hair.  It's a waste of time.  It's constantly windy.  Oh yeah, and don't walk in front of any cable cars, especially on hills.  I am almost certain that there is only 50-50 chance each time the guy tries to stop the car that it's going to work.  The cable car is stopped by someone in the back pulling with all his might on a big lever.  I can't see how this is possibly safe.

The End.


  1. 1. I have never been to California.

    2. Do not speak disparagingly about the elderly.

    Thank you.

  2. 1. LOVE the cards - I totally think that yes, if everyone had to follow those rules, the overpopulation of the prison system would be a thing of the past. EXCELLENT!
    2. I'm surprised you didn't suggest a whistle for if you are going up/down on the little staircase to advise others to wait. Sounds like a death trap that I will avoid. Cable cars as well. Thanks for saving me the trip and ER co-pay.
    Whistle on my friend!! :)

    1. 1. Thanks for love/support!

      2. The whistle on the train idea is perfect!! I can't believe I didn't think about this excellent additional use for the whistle!


Popular Posts