Thursday, February 26, 2009

Just take the salad and be done with it

So I seem to have found myself back in the old country once again, this time to do some wedding planning, since this is where Super Hot Irish Girlfriend and I will be betrothed, for a number of complicated and/or boring reasons. Anyway, these plans including attending a bridal fair on Saturday, which promises to be either a hoot or a descent into a nightmare that I cannot begin to fathom.

We got here last night in the company of The Sister and proceeded to dinner at a restaurant where we were served by an oddly intrusive waiter hell-bent on making the ordering process as complicated as possible. Seriously, it took like 10 minutes to order dinner, like so:

Dad: "I'll have the salmon."

Overly Intrusive Waiter: "What kind of salad? House salad or caesar?"

Dad: "No salad, thanks."

OIW: "Hmmm, OK, why don't I get you the salmon club then, since you're not having salad? It's cheaper."

Dad: "OK. That's fine then."

Me: "Dad, that's a sandwich."

Dad: "I don't want a sandwich."

OIW: "I'm just trying to help out because it's cheaper."

Dad: "I don't want a sandwich."

OIW: "But you're not having a salad!"

Dad: "Can I just get the dinner without the salad?"

OIW: "OK. Whatever you say."

And so on. Now repeat that for 5 different people and you can see why this was so excruciating.

ANYWAY, off to the wine store now to see what kind of group discount we can negotiate. We'd be able to work out a big discount with an unnamed online wine merchant, since The Sister knows someone who works there, but Tennessee is one of those states with byzantine alcohol laws that include a complete ban on the retail shipping of wine into the state. And you can't buy beer on Sunday, I think. Or maybe Sunday before noon. Or something like that.

Monday, February 23, 2009

And then things got weird

I played the weirdest show of my life last night. I'm not going to say where, but it's a place with a fairly normal divey, maybe kinda arty bar upstairs, and a performance area downstairs. The downstairs has that garage/basement feel because, I guess, it's a basement.

So the act who was playing when we got there was this - ummm, how to describe, how to describe - folk-rap trio with a rapper/singer who looked like a soccer hooligan and whose lyrics mostly concerned his sexual prowess. I wish I could adequately convey this to you, but I don't think it's possible. I will say that he rhymed "ho" and "Santana Row."

I went upstairs after a while to get another beer and - what's this now? - there's a guy up there wearing a fez playing classical music on an electric piano. Did I miss the notice that a David Lynch movie was being filmed here? There were about 10 people watching him, including a girl with a fuzzy Burning Man hat and some oddly younger people who watched with rapt attention. Two guys at the bar were talking and Fuzzy Hat shushed them. Now, I hate it when people talk loudly at shows just as much as the next guy, but lady, it's a bar, not Symphony Hall. I don't know what the bar ownership is thinking, but being shushed by a fashion victim for trying to have a conversation while Fez Guy plays Pachelbel doesn't scream "fun night out."

So I went back downstairs and the next time I came upstairs to the bar the fez classical piano guy was gone, now replaced by three guys doing Grateful Dead covers on acoustic guitar and bongos. At this point, I wasn't even a little surprised.

We played our set downstairs and it was fine and we got a good response. But really, how do you compete against that?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sometimes life really is like a Wes Anderson movie

To appreciate this obituary, you really have to read it with Alec Baldwin's voice in your head. Here's my favorite part:

While in Jedda Yvonne greatly enjoyed the hunting and fishing camping trips her husband organized, and took up an interest in snorkeling along the spectacular coral reefs of the Red Sea and collecting sea shells. On one of these trips she was attacked and nearly drowned by a moray eel, resulting in an injury to her right hand which ended her piano playing.

Awesome. I love the obits.

Friday, February 20, 2009

My skillset includes swimming and eating people

Shark attacks drop; recession blamed

Jesus, you know shit is tough out there when a fucking shark can't even get a job.

Happy Friday, everyone!

- SO. We have a budget. The ridiculous thing about this is that everybody knew, all along, that we were going to have to raise taxes. It was a foregone conclusion. But we had to drag this shit out for months waiting for one Republican to finally cave. What a way to run a state.

- Who's the best player in the NFL? Peyton Manning? Adrian Peterson? Judging strictly by paycheck, it's Nnamdi Asomugha, who the Raiders made the highest-paid player in the league yesterday. Oh, Raiders.

- Super Hot Irish Girlfriend returns from the wilds of Louisiana today and goes immediately to a weekend-long gig babysitting for some friends, or, as I like to call it, the Baby Desire Enhancement Program. Srsly, though, the kid is pretty cute. Funny story - SHIG was out with the kid at the park, pushing her in a swing, and a Young Mom smiled and asked, "How old is she?" SHIG said, "Uh, nine, ten months, something like that." Young Mom nervously edged away from SHIG, the Worst Mommy Ever.

Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

She left the cat in charge

This morning at around 4:30 a.m. (I think, I'm not really sure) Super Hot Irish Girlfriend got up and left to go to Baton Rouge for work. That's funny, I didn't know she was a riverboat gambler or an offensive line coach. Anyway, I got up and walked the dog around 6:30 and when we got back he started an intensive search of the house, like all "WTF? Where's that lady?" Then he was super-needy until I left.

Speaking of football, SHIG has a semi-intense crush on Kyle Chandler, who plays Coach Taylor on Friday Night Lights, which is a great show that you should be watching if you're not already.

Although the show is tangentially about football, it's really more concerned with the interrelationships between the characters in the small Texas town where it's set. I was immediately impressed with the dialogue, because it sounds like how people actually talk, and that's pretty rare for a TV show. If you need proof that you don't have to know about football to enjoy the show, last Friday SHIG paused a football scene and asked me what "downs" are. And it's basically her favorite show, so there you go.

In other news, there was a shooting early Monday morning outside the L'Amour nightclub, which the Chron says is in North Beach but which is actually in Chinatown. At one point when I lived nearby in North Beach, a friend and I got on this kick of visiting really weird little Chinatown bars and clubs, and hoo boy, was that place one of the weirdest. It was a long time ago, but I vaguely remember lots of middle-aged Chinese guys smoking and drinking whiskey and singing really bad songs on karaoke. I can't imagine what a 21-year-old kid from Oakland found appealing about it. Maybe it's different now.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Pass me the Punt e mes

Saturday we got a break in the rain, so Super Hot Irish Girlfriend and I took Leland to Crissy Field. With a long beach, incredible views of the Golden Gate Bridge, and ample parking - which, in SF, is basically like getting free money - it's an awesome place for a dog. Leland fucking loves it.

This is what a chihuahua-terrier mix coming at you at about 40 mph looks like:

Saturday was, of course, Valentine's Day. One of us forgot to get the other one a card. It's in the past now and there's no need to dwell upon this tired subject.

Anyway, a good way to make up for a mistake like that is an expensive meal, and boy, we sure had one at Farina in the Mission. The food was good and the service was great and everything but it is absurdly overpriced. Like $22 for some pasta with pesto sauce. Like dot-com overpriced. I enjoyed it enough, but I would never go back.

One good thing came out of it - I discovered an unbelievably good cocktail. It had Hangar One kaffir lime vodka, an Italian sweet vermouth called Punt e mes, pineapple juice, and maybe something else. I'm contemplating sinking the $50 into all the speciality liquors this will require to make at home because I want one EVERY SINGLE DAY FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE.

One other funny story from the weekend. Last night at Bloodhound I ran into this couple I'd met there the last time. I was talking to the guy and I realized he was wearing a t-shirt from Dolan's Pub in Limerick, where SHIG grew up. As it turns out, his brother had studied in Ireland and they had hung out in Limerick. Small world, huh? Well, I didn't say it was a hilarious story. Oh, never mind.

Friday, February 13, 2009

They grow up so fast

Just so you know that the US doesn't have a lock on fucked-up reproductive stories, meet 13-year-old Brit Alfie Patten:

Yes, the little 8-year-old looking kid on the left is the FATHER of the baby he's holding. Jesus Christ. Well, I guess, to look on the bright side, he might be the first Dad in history to beat his son at any Xbox game.

Oh, and from the Not That Fucking Surprising Dept.: Octomom is much, much crazier than we suspected. Like writing creepy letters to Angelina Jolie crazy. Like maybe having plastic surgery to look like Angelina Jolie crazy. I'm torn, because on the one hand, I think chicks should do whatever they can to look more like Angelina Jolie and oh for the love of Christ, I'm joking, okay?

Happy Friday, everyone! For the second consecutive year in a row, Super Hot Irish Girlfriend and I will actually be going out to eat on Valentine's Day. I know, suicidal, right? You'd think, but last year it was actually a lot of fun. We'll see how it is this year.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The funny thing is, the list of symptoms describes pretty much everyone in SF

Sometimes I'm afraid that I'm a little Aspergy. Like I've got a touch of some low-grade autism that maybe's never been detected. I know, SHOCK.

I get this feeling because sometimes I fail at small talk and I can't figure out if I'm missing some obvious social clues or if the other person is just retarded. Case in point: I'm in the kitchen at work, filling up my water bottles (because I drink like 2 liters of water a day at work, but don't try to make this into some kind of Aspergy thing because I just like to drink water, it's not like I have to drink exactly 2 liters a day or something) and a Coworker #1 comes in and examines the empty coffee pot. The following exchange occurs:

Coworker #1: [Coworker #2] is just so clean, isn't she?

(OK, my mind goes into high gear, trying to figure out exactly WTF this could possibly mean. Did Coworker #2 smell bad today and I just didn't pick up on it and Coworker #1 is dissing her with sarcasm? I don't think so. Think, TK, think, goddamit!)

TK: What do you mean?

(Nice save!)

Coworker #1: [Beaming like a child or something] She washed the coffee pot already!

So I want to know - should I have been able to decipher this ahead of time? How the fuck do I know that Coworker #2 cleaned the coffee pot? I mean, what kind of reaction was Coworker #1 expecting?

In other news, today was one of those days when basically every story in the newspaper made me ANGRY. Like Taxpayers may bear cost of raising octuplets and Judges accused of jailing juveniles for cash and Mandy Moore's getting married to Ryan Adams. OK, the last one didn't make me "mad," I guess, but it provoked some kind of upsetting reaction that I haven't yet figured out.

Back to the woman with the Golden Retriever-like litter of children: There's nothing more I can say that hasn't been said, and all the outrage has been pretty much completely justified in my view and I can't think of any rational defense for anyone having 14 children, much less a single mom, but I just have to say that I love, love, love the term "Octomom." OCTOMOM!

You should listen to this

Like every good white urban overeducated liberal, I'm hooked on This American Life. Since I don't listen to the radio much, and I really have no idea when the show is even on, I usually just download the podcast (free, BTW, although I kicked down $25 recently when they were asking for donations because it's totally worth it) every week and listen to it on my iPod on the way to and from work.

That's right. An overeducated white man listening to the podcast of "This American Life" on his iPod while taking mass transit to work in San Francisco. I AM YOUR WORST FUCKING NIGHTMARE, RUSH LIMBAUGH.

ANYWAY. They're all good, but I have to say that last week's show, entitled "The Ghost of Bobby Dunbar" was so good and thought-provoking and incredible that it could be turned into a movie without any major changes. IN FACT, the story (which is true) bears some resemblance to "The Changeling," another true story, in that they both involve boys who go missing and the boys who then turn up might not be the same boys who went missing.

I don't want to get into the whole plot, but it really is an amazing story and the voices! The Voices that tell the story are mostly Mississippi ladies of a certain age and their accents alone will kill you. They're awesome. You can download it at the link above for free for the next few days. Do it. You won't regret it. Plus, I want to talk to somebody about it.

What's the other thing I was thinking about? Oh yeah, pitchers and catchers report in 3 days. Baseball is almost upon us again! Huzzah.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Exploding salad, rotting seal, movies ending in "ess"

Friday after work I met up with Super Hot Irish Girlfriend and we went to the book release party for Bay Area Graffiti at 111 Minna. The book looks great and it was a lot of fun, but I got the feeling I'm maybe 30% less hip than I needed to be in order to be there. It was fun, anyway.

After that we headed out to eat at Orson, which was interesting, I guess, but maybe a little over my head. The food is sort of intentionally complicated and imaginative, which I think is just great but maybe might be better appreciated by someone else. Like, if your server (androgynous mid-20's Asian, natch) has to explain to you how to eat your Caesar salad, maybe you're in for more than you bargained for. She explained that the salad itself contained flavorless Pop Rocks, and so what you were supposed to do was get a bite and then swirl it in one of the dressing medallions and then it would all explode in my mouth. I didn't get any explosions in my mouth, which is just as well by me.

For her appetizer, SHIG had a poached egg over oxtail, which was interesting, and then she had the scallops, which were far and away the best part of either of our dinners, perfectly cooked and delicious. I would say I'm glad I tried Orson but I can't see myself going back.

After dinner, we headed up to North Beach to meet some friends at Tosca, which, as you know, is one of my favorite places and had some drinks there and then we left because I wanted to check out Church Key, a new place that just opened on Grant. Interesting, extensive beer menu, but holy shit everyone in there was young. Like fetus-young. Also, guys, I can see wearing a backwards baseball cap to a sports bar, but please, can you at least try to class it up a little when you go out somewhere else? Lame.

Yesterday we took Leland out to Ocean Beach to let him run around. It was fucking freezing out there but he had a blast. "Hey, rotting seal carcass! SWEET! Let me just rub my head and neck into it. Oh, man, that is some good shit."

Yesterday afternoon we gave Leland a bath.

One final note: we capped off the weekend by watching two movies that were both boring in their own way, The Wackness and The Duchess. In one of them, Ben Kingsley spouts improbable dialogue and in one Ralph Fiennes rapes Kiera Knightley. I briefly feel asleep during both of them.

Friday, February 6, 2009

What I saw at the Bay Bridged birthday party

It's raining! Fuck. I know, I know we really need the rain and it's a good thing and blah blah but it's still a pain in the ass, as far as I'm concerned. I got up this morning around 6:40 to walk the dog and put his leash on got to the door and he took one step out and froze and looked up at me like "Are you fucking serious?" I had to drag his ass down the steps.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Last night after band practice Stoney and I walked over to Rickshaw Stop (warning: faux-Geocities website) for the The Bay Bridged's 3rd Anniversary party. For those of you not in the know, The Bay Bridged is a website covering local music that also puts out a regular kickass podcast concerning same. Now, if I could just get them to cover my band we'd quickly become a big deal and Pitchfork would accuse us of selling out. Sweet.

ANYWAY, they got a great crowd out, even on a semi-shitty night, and, Madre de Dios, it wasn't all hipsters which kinda surprised and pleased me. The excessive use of a smoke machine to make the interior of the club hearken back to Ye Olde Days when you could actually smoke somewhere did not.

First up we had Geographer, with the rarely-seen guitar/keys/sampler, electric cello, drums lineup. I liked it! Definite indie-pop undertones, which always grabs me, and definitely interesting instrumentation. I think more bands should use cello, too.

Then Birds and Batteries. I really liked their first few songs, which I guess you could describe as art-blues maybe, if that didn't sound totally grad school pretentious, but then things took a turn for the Zappa and that's when I kind of lose interest. I'm still gonna check out their record, though.

I missed The Heavenly States because after B&B it was 10:45 and I had to go home because I'm old and I had to work today. Wah.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Book release party

I shall be in attendance at this event:

Bonus points if you can figure out who I am. Hint: I don't look 40.

What else is going on? I've been busy. I see that the American Apparel debate continues to rage on over at SFist and other blogs and, whatever side you're on, God bless you for giving a shit, since most people don't.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Monday, February 2, 2009

Most of this post is about booze and drugs

Good morning! We've got a lot to cover this morning, so let's just jump right in.

- How about that Super Bowl? I believe I said "Steelers by 3 in a surprisingly low-scoring game." As it turns out, it was Steelers by 4, and 27-23 might not be "surprisingly low-scoring," but I'd say I got the gist of it right.

Anyway, you really couldn't ask for a better game.

- From yesterday's Chron: "Popchips' marketer's swell spots to hang." "Russell Barnett, the vice president of marketing for the San Francisco snack company Popchips, tells us about his favorite places to schmooze clients, watch the sunset and blow off some steam."

I didn't know Popchips was an SF company! Even more reason to love Popchips. However, one of Russell's fave spots is the execrable Redwood Room, a little slice of what everyone hates about LA right in the heart of SF. Why, Russell, why?

"This is a must for drinks with friends and colleagues. It's classic San Francisco with a modern twist. Even locals need to sit in the Big Chair in the lobby. They just celebrated their 75th anniversary, and the best part is it has changed very little. They make a mean martini and offer delicious appetizers from Asia de Cuba - the tuna poke and lobster pot stickers are not to be missed. Out-of-town guests love the old-school vibe."
What in the fuck are you talking about? It has "changed very little?" It's not even remotely the same place any more. It used to be kind of a classic, if a little well-worn, SF hotel bar. Now it's a sceney nightmare where hookers, bridge-and-tunnel screech girls, and striped-shirt chest bumpers converge to buy $12 cocktails and try to impress each other. It's NOTHING like it used to be. As if you needed any other clue, your tipoff would be those old classics from 1934, tuna poke and lobster pot stickers.

Stick to puffed potato products, Rusty.

- Speaking of bars, we checked out Bloodhound, a new place on Folsom between 7th and 8th, Saturday night. I like it a lot. Same owners as Double Dutch, but don't let that scare you off. Bloodhound is definitely more of a grown-up bar. There's sort of a rustic vibe, with a reclaimed barn wood interior. Nice, eclectic crowd. Will do business again.

Oh, while we're there, Tom, on drinking: "I'm not an alcoholic. I just really like booze." You tell it, brother.

- So Michael Phelps smokes the pot. Now comes the utterly predictable and ridiculous public apology and shaming and "I'll never do it again wah wah wah."

Just the latest in the ludicrous and ongoing farce called the War on Drugs. Everybody with half an ounce of sense knows that pot is about as harmful as decaf coffee, but we have to engage in this ridiculous sham and pretend that he's done something really bad.

You know what the real message to kids is? Smoking pot can't even keep you from winning eight gold medals in a single Olympics, so how the fuck is it going to keep you from passing Biology? The problem with the whole War on Drugs message is that pretty much everybody tries pot and they find out, "Hey, this is no big deal," and they compare that the the scare-tactic commercials that are trying to convince them that if you take one toke, your life is pretty much over and since they know that's not true and they've been lied to, hey, maybe crank's not so bad either!

- This may be the longest single blog post I've ever done.


I don't get it. What's the mothers' beef with murdered children? Seems mean to go after them. They're already dead. Why the hate?