Thursday, August 28, 2008

If I had 6 months to live

1. Nod meaningfully at the doctor. Say, "No, really, I'm OK. Let me just take some time to process this." Leave doctor's office.

2. Proceed directly to closest corner store. Purchase 3 packs of P-Funks. Light one immediately, savoring the rich tobacco flavor. Light another one, just to have as a spare. Laugh at clerk who is looking at me mean for smoking in the store. Purchase one PBR tall-boy and take with me in ghetto bag.

3. Go home, apply for 8-10 credit cards. Call family. "I'm OK. Yes. Yes, really. I know, it's devastating. What? Oh, yeah, I'll come by and see you in a couple of weeks."

4. Liquidate IRA. Request that money be wired immediately into my checking account.

5. Dinner that night for 10 at Boulevard, on me. "What's that 2003 Marcassin chardonnay? 285 a bottle? That's fine. We'll take 3."

6. Limo ride to airport.

7. First class to Lihue, then another limo to two-week stay at private villa, Maui beachfront.

8. "Hello? Make-a-Wish foundation? Got something to write with? OK, I want to party with the Lohan for a weekend in LA. No Ronson, that's firm."

9. 5 months, 29 days later: achieve state of Zen-like bliss and acceptance. Select music for funeral. Heavy on the Elliott Smith. If people aren't crying, it's not a funeral.

10. "What do you mean, misdiagnosis? What does that mean?"

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wait, what blog is this? WTF is this shit?

So here we have the Democratic National Convention, that quadrennial shitshow where the Dems get together and nominate someone who'll probably lose. (The Republican convention is pretty much the same, except their guy usually wins, and they seem much, much angrier. In fact, Republicans in general always seem pissed off. But that's another post.) I didn't watch Hillary's speech last night, but from what I gather, she pretty much said "Since you can't vote for me, might as well vote for this guy." Some Hillary supporters, apparently, are either going to not vote or vote for McCain, which is pretty much the definition of cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Meanwhile, the #1 bestselling book in the country is currently The Obama Nation, a vile compendium of half-truths and outright lies compiled by the same professional libelist who Swift-Boated John Kerry out of a 2004 win (along with the help of the Diebold Corporation). Given the fact that 45 percent of Americans apparently believe that God created humans 10,000 years ago, it's not an exceptionally tough sell to convince people that Obama's a Muslim or hates America or whatever.

Look, I don't think Obama's the ideal Democratic candidate. The way Bush totally fucked up this country in the past 8 years, any off-the-shelf Democrat should have a cakewalk to the presidency. The fact that O's basically tied with McCain right now points up the fact that he hasn't really connected with most Americans. Part of it is undoubtedly the fact that he's black. Part of it is the air of elitism that hangs over him, and part of it is certainly the campaign of misinformation that will only accelerate as the election gets closer. Personally, I think the Democrats could have found a better candidate. I like and respect Obama, but I'm still not completely convinced that he's going to make a great president. Of course, it wouldn't take much to beat the current one.

I'm a pessimist by nature, so I think, at this point, McCain will probably win, in a somewhat close election. Unless Obama can find some way to connect with people better than he has so far. This article in Newsweek dramatically illustrates how good he is at connecting with people one-on-one. Since he can't personally meet everyone face-to-face, I hope his campaign figures out some way to communicate that ability to connect on a large scale. Or we're even more fucked than we are now.

OK, that's enough of the heavy. We'll now return to our regularly-scheduled diet of drinking, baseball, and fucking not smoking.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Didn't do / Did do

Here’s a quick roundup of what I haven’t been doing:

- I didn’t go to any of the Outside Lands festival. After receiving multiple reports of Muni hell, insane crowds, half-hour waits in the beer line, and the presence of Jack Johnson, I just decided to say fuck it. As it turns out, I heard that Sunday, the day we were going to go, was maybe better, but still. Anyway, we’re going to the Treasure Island fest in a few weeks, so that’ll be my Summer Festival Experience.

- I didn’t really watch the Olympics. I guess some people really get into it, but I’m not one of them. I don’t know why. It just doesn’t do anything for me.

- I didn’t go to any Giants games over the weekend, even though it sounds like the kids are alright.

Here’s what I have been doing:

- Ate at Fresca Saturday night with Super Hot Irish Girlfriend. Man, Fresca is really good.

- Saw Pineapple Express on Sunday. It was OK. There were definitely some laughs, but the pairing of stoner buddy comedy and pervasive extreme violence is a bit off-putting. It reminded me of Superbad in the sense that it uses romantic comedy framing and conventions, in a way, to tell the story of best friends. You know, they meet, they face adversity and separate, then they’re reunited. Apatow seems really into the idea of best friends as the most important bond in the universe.

Also, what's up with the guy at the movies who constantly repeats the last line of dialogue back at the screen? WTF? Luckily we were far enough away that I didn't have a complete meltdown/freakout, but still. ANNOYING.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Korean BBQ truck, why hast thou forsaken me?

Sufficiently intrigued by the concept of a Korean BBQ truck, and having read the semi-promising Yelp reviews of said operation, Olu and I headed down to Embarcadero and Bryant today to try it out.

One problem: it never showed.

This is what it would have looked like if it showed. Imagine the guy with the ponytail is Olu, saying "Damn! That's some good Korean barbeque!"

WTF? According to the somewhat primitive website, Seoul on Wheels is supposed to *POOF* magically appear at Embarcadero and Bryant on Fridays betwixt 12:30 and 1:45. We were there at 12:30, Seoul on Wheels. Where the hell were you? Where's my goddam spicy pork and kimchee?

So we said fuck it and went to Red's Java House instead.

It was fine, I guess. Beautiful day, so natch, all the outdoor tables were taken.

On another note, do you ever remember any selection of a VP being laden with this much drama and anticipation? It's like everything in this election so far has to be so fucking drawn out and tense. Just pick someone and get it over with. Jesus.

On still another note, I never bought tickets to the Outside Lands Festival which, if you haven't heard, starts today. Now I'm kinda wishing I was going if, for nothing else, just to see the spectacle. Super Hot Irish Girlfriend and I are in negotiations to maybe go Sunday now. I wouldn't mind seeing Broken Social Scene and Andrew Bird and Wilco and Rogue Wave, I guess. Jack Johnson can suck it, though.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Iggy Pop hates me

This is going to be one of those multi-topic catch-all posts without any specific focus or theme. So that should be perfect for you MTV generation kidz who have the attention span of a 3-year-old and click away from something if it doesn't get your attention in the first 14 seconds.

Google Image Search result for "Bright Shiny Things." LOOK AT IT!!!!

- OK, so now I'm on what, Day 5 of not smoking? OK so far, I guess. The Sister, who's a nutritionist, has me on these crazy supplements with 1600% of my RDA of Vitamin C for the day and L-tyrosine and 5-HTP and she PROMISES that they're going to reduce anxiety and make me serene and calm. So far, all they're doing is making me ANGRY and SAD and giving me weird dreams. Like last night, when I was shopping and found a really cool blazer and then went out to the parking lot and noticed that Iggy Pop and Lou Barlow were in a van and they were apparently headed my way. So I got in and then we left and I asked them very nicely just to drop me off and Iggy Pop FREAKED OUT and started SCREAMING in my face about how I had never asked them for permission to get in the van in the first place. I woke up with a start right then.

- Obama picking Biden as his running mate would be just as stupid as McCain picking Lieberman. Who's Biden supposed to appeal to? Wonky 50-something college professors? Believe me, Big O, you've already got that vote tied up.

- Finally, sigh:

(Click on link for larger version. If you identify with this as much as I do, let's trade Guadalcanal Diary singles!!!1!1111!!!)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A somewhat belated weekend report

- This is Day 3 of not smoking. It's actually not as bad as I expected. I guess the patch really helps. It makes my arm sore, for some reason, though.

- Oh, OK, so on Sunday Super Hot Irish Girlfriend and I went to brunch at South, which is apparently an Australian restaurant. Who knew there were Australian restaurants? Now, before I get into this, let me preface this by saying that on Saturday, we were at an afternoon-into-night outdoor block party at The Sister's, which featured quite a few PBRs and Sangria her neighbor made and some wine and I think they went through a case of champagne. There were about 30 people there, give or take, and roughly the same number of dogs.

This party ended around 11 pm with us playing jukebox on Stoney's iPod, which was hooked up to the stereo. Oh, and then we went to Uva Enoteca for a glass of wine on the way home, but the less said about that the better.

OK, back to brunch. Now, as you might have surmised, neither SHIG nor I are in top form. I got the bangers and mash, which was pretty good but had asparagus in it, for some unknown reason.

SHIG got the eggs & soldiers, which consists of two softboiled eggs (the "eggs") accompanied by a bunch of thin slices of toast (the "soldiers") and I guess the idea is you dip the toast strips in the soft-boiled egg. The eggs come in little cups, like this:

So they come and SHIG looks pained and says, "I can't open them." So I sawed at them with a knife and finally got them open. Nicely done.

I guess we weren't hurting as bad as we could have been, because we then proceeded to Rug Doctor our carpets. Score one for the productivity team!

In sum: I'd like to try the dinner at South. The brunch was OK. The asparagus was gross. Also, I guess I could live down there near Mission Bay.

Monday, August 18, 2008

3,750 packs later

About 20 years ago, I smoked a cigarette for the first time. It made me dizzy and I felt like my heart was going to come out of my chest. So I had another one. That one was much better.

Then I had about 75,000 more, give or take. Some of them were great (like the first one after every Thanksgiving dinner - sublime) and some of them were just there. Along the way, sometimes I smoked a pack or more a day; sometimes I didn't smoke at all (like most Sundays, for the past few years, anyway). I quit yesterday. It had been coming for a while. It bothers Super Hot Irish Girlfriend (who, incidentally, I was surprised to learn didn't smoke when we met, since it seems like an Irish thing), plus I understand it's bad for you. I always knew I had to quit sometime, and it just seems like there's no point in putting it off any more.

I'm on the patch. So far, it's not bad, but I didn't expect it to be bad yet. I usually smoke less than 10 a day - that's considered a "light" smoker - so I haven't really had any bad cravings yet. I'm sure they'll be along directly. It'll be really tough the first time I have a beer, I'm sure.

So, thanks, Camel Filters, Marlboro Reds, Marlboro Lights (yes, I really did smoke sorority sticks for a while), Bel Airs (very, very briefly), and Parliaments. You were great.

Friday, August 15, 2008

A little pre-tox

- Walking through the Civic Center this morning, I'm approached by a panhandler, which is not at all unusual in the CC. Mid-30's, maybe, kind of a surf bum look, wearing a Washington State hoodie. So he tells me he's headed to Joe Healy's Detox and...he needs money for a drink! Wait, what?

- For The Sister's birthday, we supped at Spruce on Wednesday. Now, as I've said before, I'm no food expert or anything, but OMFG IT WAS FUCKING GREAT. I had the pork tenderloin, a couple of nice-sized slabs served with some kind of white beans and a little piece of crispy pork belly. DFL.* I hate to throw around superlatives unnecessarily, but it really was the best piece of pork I've ever eaten.
The crowd there is pure Pac Heights old money. You could almost hear the table next to us getting richer.
Happy Friday, everyone!
*DFL = de-fucking-licious, in case you're not hip to the acronyms. Also useful:
NFI = no further information. Usage: "So she left the bar around 12:30 with that Chad from the Marina. NFI."
HBD = Has been drinking. It's hospital shorthand that they use on patient charts. Usage: "When Erin started talking about how much she loved The Fresh Prince, I knew she was HBD."
OTS = Opportunity to smoke. "Let's just get to Coalinga and then we'll get off the freeway and have an OTS."

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A line in the sand

I consider myself a fairly with-it, tech-forward guy. I embraced technology fairly early; I remember learning to program BASIC on an Apple II. Yes, I know. Hard to believe.

Then when the Internets came along, I jumped on that, too. And not just for pr0n. I happily embraced this new medium that would allow us to receive chain email forwards about some kid dying of cancer who needed bottle caps or keep an eye on a soda machine at MIT. Thank you, Wondrous Technology!

Now, obviously, I have a blog, so I can keep you, my readers, up to date with the excruciating minutiae of my life. And my band's got a Myspace site (not me, personally, though, since I'm not 16 or go by the handle ***__sWeEt'n'SasSeeeGurliE__***.

I've drawn the line, however, at two places. I will not Facebook. And I will not Twitter.

I will not Facebook because I'm a grown motherfucking man and no one has yet explained to me what possible benefit I can derive from it other than bothering my friends, having my friends bother me, and constantly being bothered by updates about what my "friends" are doing. And being found by people I probably don't want to be found by.

I will not Twitter because I don't want people to know what I'm doing most of the time. The main idea behind Twitter, as I understand it, is to blast off quick messages about whatever you're doing at the time. I don't think most of you want to read stuff like "Getting drunk while watching Intervention LOL" or "Wondering how expensive therapists are these days" or "Trying to avoid creepy guitar guy who looks like Carrot Top in Civic Center station".

Seriously, I already feel like I know too much about too many strangers whose blogs I accidentally stumbled across and now read out of some weird curiosity. I'm happy being more anonymous.

Here's my faux-Twitter for right now: "Cheating employer by blogging while pretending to work." Boring, huh?

When you care enough to hit "send"

I don't know if you know about Someecards, but it's definitely my go-to site for e-cards. You know, when an e-card is called for.

Now I come to find out you can make your own! Awesome! Today's my sister's birthday, so here's the one I made for her:

In other news, Super Hot Irish Girlfriend survived her epic battle of man vs. nature, and by that I mean her carefully-managed rafting trip down the Tuolumne River. She reports that, since she didn't see any snakes, the trip was a success.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Mark Spitz, swimming legend/big jerk

Is it just me, or does Mark Spitz sound like a total dickhead? Seems Miss Thing's upset that no one invited him to the Olympics.
"I never got invited. You don't go to the Olympics just to say, I am going to go. Especially because of who I am," Spitz told AFP in Hong Kong.

"I am going to sit there and watch Michael Phelps break my record anonymously? That's almost demeaning to me. It is not almost—it is."

Oh, so sorry, Mr. King of the World Spitz! Especially because of who you are! What else is bugging you?

Now a stockbroker and motivational speaker, Spitz also thinks he could have won eight golds himself in Munich if only he had had the chance.

"I won seven events. If they had the 50m freestyle back then, which they do now, I probably would have won that too," he said.

Spitz, whose brief stint in show business in the 1970s never quite matched his success in the pool, said he attended the Athens Olympics four years ago—when Phelps also tried to break the record.

"They did not once put my face on television," he recalled. "But as soon as the swimming was over, and Michael Phelps didn't break my record, every time I went to beach volley, they put my face on the volleyballs."

Wait, what? They put his face on volleyballs? WTF is up with that?

Anyway, yeah, you're a legend (in swimming, anyway, which, by the way, Mark Spitz, isn't exactly like being in the baseball Hall of Fame or being a member of Led Zeppelin or something), but quit acting like such a petulant jerk and maybe someone will invite you to something next time. I bet you're a hell of a motivational speaker. "They didn't bring me a water pitcher up here to the podium! I'm a legend! Where's my water pitcher?"

In a related story, I'm not into the Olympics at all.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

(Wo)Man vs. Wild

Super Hot Irish Girlfriend just left on her "team-building exercise," which seems to be some kind of rafting trip in Tuolumne County. She's picturing a savage battle between man and nature, and has asked me to "avenge her" if she does not come back. I'm picturing a bunch of city folk in oversized life vests making their way carefully down a placid stream at about 3 mph.

Anyway, we'll see which is closer Tuesday when she returns.

Party last night at the home of the lovely Evany and Marco. Evany made this very tasty punch that she said was similar to a Swedish massage and involved something called lingonberry of which I didn't know existed until last night. Great to see the assembled peeps there. Ugh, I just used the word "peeps." Also while there, I had, for the first time, Acme Pale Ale which I can endorse heartily. I don't mean to emphasize the alcohol over the excellent company. That's just how I think.

OK. SHIG's gone. Wait, what do I do now?

Friday, August 8, 2008

Happy Friday, everyone!

- Somehow I neglected to follow up on this earlier, but Aoife Gallagher, Miss Clare, did not, in fact, win the Miss Ireland pageant. Rather, she was robbed and Sinead Noonan, Miss Meath won. What a rip.

Sinead Noonan, the new Miss Ireland. No Aoife Gallagher, but not bad, I guess.

For some reason, I am the go-to source for news on Aoife Gallagher, even though I only mentioned her once, in passing. You should see the Google search hits I get on her name. I'm like the Aoife Gallagher Clearinghouse. I'm starting to suspect it's just Aoife Gallagher and her friends. So here you go. Aoife Gallagher.

- My close associate Rocco is pleased to announce the launch of her new blog, Tales from the 22, which concerns the 22 Fillmore, one of my fave Muni lines. I predict this blog will achieve great success and will result in a book deal for Rocco while I continue to toil for the sheer love of blogging.

- No, really, I do love it.

- Aoife Gallagher.

- Jordan Mackay is a wine writer who also bartends at Cantina. He just wrote a great piece for 7x7 magazine about bartending that you should all go read right now. Here it is.

- An idea whose time has come: randomly matching cute cat pictures with Craigslist Casual Encounters headlines. Warning: headlines may be NSFW.

Have a nice weekend. Maybe it'll get above 58 degrees at some point in this wind-swept godforsaken city.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

SF Giants: Ruining birthdays since 1958

Yesterday was Super Hot Irish Girlfriend's 31st birthday. We did what every girl loves to do on her birthday! We went to a professional baseball game.

That would normally be fun, except the team we went to see was the Giants, and they put on their usual Festival of Suck and lost 11-4 to the Atlanta Braves.

Now, I should point out that going to the game wasn't some typical dumb boyfriend move. SHIG has become quite the baseball fan in the past few years. When I first met her, she didn't know the difference between a line drive and a box score, but she can now discuss Giants pitching intelligently and had a conversation with one of our friends last weekend about the relative merits of RBIs and on base percentage in evaluating a hitter.

Anyway, as we're sitting there watching the pathetic Giants get pwned by Mike Hampton, who's pretty much the definition of "washed up" and is so fragile he'd break like cheap glass if he ever bumped up against anything solid, just to add insult to injury, it started to rain. The average precipitation for San Francisco in August is 0.07 inches, so it really felt like piling on at that point. Bleh.

Oh, so on the train on the way home, who's right across from us but District 6 Supervisor/Gavin Newsom enemy Chris Daly? He was with his kid coming back from the game. Now, I'm pretty much a tax-and-spend, free-drugs-for-orphans, give-wealthy-estates-to-spotted-owls liberal, but Chris Daly makes me look like Barry Goldwater.

"I want to take your money and give it to the hobos!"

Whatever our political differences may be, I gotta give Chris Daly mad props for riding Muni like the rest of us fools. Sorry we were looking at you and whispering to each other, Chris Daly!

ANYWAY, Happy Birthday, SHIG!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Beheadings, Russian chicks, etc.

- Wow, beheadings certainly seem to be on the rise. What's up with that? First, we had the Brazilian guy who beheaded his British girlfriend. Then the Canada bus beheader. Then the Greek "cleaver killer." Beheadings are the new black.

- Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood got hisself a new chick. Meet 18-year-old Ekaterina Ivanova:

Not bad, Ronnie Wood! It's worth reading the article, which contains high amounts of win, to learn that Wood drinks two bottles of vodka a day, met the chick in something called an "escort bar," and that the chick called Wood her boyfriend on Facebook.

- I'm a big fan of the Neighborhood Crime Log. Here, for example:

At 2:50 a.m. July 23, an individual was sitting on Broadway and Montgomery Street playing a guitar with an amplifier when he was approached by four men, two of whom were from Santa Rosa. One attempted to divert the man’s attention while the other stole his amplifier. When he tried to get it back, one of the men punched him in the face. Officers stopped a vehicle with the suspects and stolen amplifier aboard. Three of the four men were arrested for robbery.

First of all, if you're playing a guitar with an amplifier at 2:50 a.m., I say you deserve whatever you get. Second, I love the fact that two of the men were "from Santa Rosa." What's the significance? Is Santa Rosa known as a breeding ground for robbers and I'm just not hip to it?

- Brett Favre is kind of a dick. He goes through this whole big teary retirement thing and the Packers go with Aaron Rodgers and Rodgers is finally going to get his chance to be a starter and I'm sure he works his ass off in the off-season to get ready and then Favre goes, "Ah, fuck it, I'll unretire." And now everyone's all confused about whether he gets his old parking space back and what to do about the whole mess.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Flagpole Sitta

The first Saturday of every month, the Knockout in the Mission hosts a party called Debaser that features 90's alternative music. We went last night. It was a total blast.

Want to know what it was like? Picture a bunch of kids with ironic hipster moustaches dancing to songs like "Possum Kingdom" by the Toadies and "Holland 1945" by Neutral Milk Hotel and "Been Caught Stealing" by Jane's and "Last Splash" by the Breeders and "Song 2" by Blur and you'll have an idea.

I realize this photo isn't very helpful. I wasn't using the flash. For some much better pixx (not from last night, but from other nights), check out our friend Chris's set here.

There was also a live performance by Ocean Spray, a Cranberries cover band. Yes, there is a Cranberries cover band. They were really good. What struck me was how many songs I recognized. I guess the Cranberries achieved greater market penetration than I realized.

When I was outside smoking, I heard some guy say "Five bucks just to get in a bar?" Well, fuck that. It was worth way more than that. I forgot how much I love those songs. I would have paid six bucks. Maybe seven.

Earlier that day, we went to see Stephen and Jessica's new dog, Todd. He's some kind of chihuahua/terrier mix. Todd kicks ass.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Sit, Fubu, sit.

The LA Times just put online a database of dog registrations in LA County and it is SO MUCH FUN.

First, the boring: the most common names in LA are Lucky, Max, Princess, Rocky, and Buddy. Super yawn.

Let’s get to the good shit. Hey, is your chihuahua named Terminator? Because there are 2 in LA, along with 2 huskies and 2 German shepards.

How to look suspicious in the park: “Here, 8-ball! Here, Blunt! Come, Reefer, come!”

Some are just great because they’re just, I don’t know, fucking weird, like Fred C. Dobbs, Dr. Bodega, or Number 2. For some reason, Dr. Bodega makes me laugh every time I say it out loud.

This is fucked up: There are 15 dogs in LA named Hitler.

And then you get to the ones that are just sad. Poor Stupid and Bad Dog.