Friday, April 27, 2012

The Giants so far

OK! We are now 19 games into the season, so it's time to start drawing some ill-advised and misinformed conclusions about this year's team.

The Giants are 10-9. Not great, but not terrible. Annoyingly, the Dodgers are 13-6 and in first place. They can go fuck themselves, along with all of LA, as far as I'm concerned.

Hey, who's the best starting pitcher so far? That's right, it's Barry Zito, 1-0 with a 1.67 ERA. What the fuck. So this is his plan: (1) sign big contract; (2) pretend to be really, really bad for a few years; (3) explode in Year 6 of contract; (4) marry Miss Kansas or some shit; (5) get talk show called "Barry!".

Freddy Sanchez has had another "setback" and can't come to the phone.

We're not supposed to joke about Aubrey Huff having an anxiety disorder because it makes anxious people upset. So I will not say that I would be anxious too if I sucked at my job since November of 2010. I did not say that. This other guy on the bus said that. Not me.

Huff's travails prompted Giants beat writer Henry Schulman to come out as a depressed. Oh God, if this starts a wave of sportswriters having to disclose all the shit that's wrong with them we're going to need a bigger newspaper.

So far we haven't had to kill anyone in the Corona Beach Club but hold on it's a long season and there are a lot, a lot, of douchebags in this town.

You know who's good? Melky Cabrera. He's currently hitting .301 and that's pretty good, considering that the Giants got rid of Noted Headcase/Attractive Man Jonathan Sanchez to get him.

Sergio Romo in a dress:

Jeremy Affeldt wasn't worth $5 million. Unless the Giants go to the World Series and he turns in a stellar performance, striking out Cody Ross in an electrifying showdown that won't happen because the Red Sox kinda suck and Bobby Valentine is going to be fired and who's idea was it to hire Bobby Valentine in the first place? That's like hiring Mike Tyson for your kid's birthday party. Wait, that's a good idea. Don't steal that.

Pablo Sandoval is a large man. He can play baseball well. He is the Taco King. When you see him coming, go "Hey! It's the Taco King!" He will laugh and laugh. I don't know what any of this means.

That really sweet Old Lady who works the beer cart by section 231 is still there. I have been seeing her for 10 years now and she calls me either "darlin'" or "sweetie." Every game. She is the MVP.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

And in closing, from Mom.....

Time marches on. We have to shake ourselves awake and realize every year could be our last now. My mother was 78 when she died of colon cancer. 

 I love you. 


OK, Mom!!!!  Thanks for the upbeat message!!!!  See you soon!!!!

Monday, April 23, 2012

I got 2 things today, neither of which has anything to do with the other. It's a Grab Bag.


In an otherwise routine slice-of-life story in the Chron entitled "Golden Gate Park Band strikes up 130th season," there appeared, like an angel from on high, the following paragraph:

"I just love classical music, and it's nice to come somewhere that's not a nightclub with people pushing you around," said Valerie Vizena, a Visa USA employee who was camped out on the grass with a bottle of sparkling wine; a ham-and-brie panini; her rescue dog, Grrr; and her husband, Kurt Kitajima, a bank brand manager who moonlights as a DJ.
Oh God. Oh God. I love this paragraph SO FUCKING MUCH. Let's take a look:

1. Valerie Vizena! Isn't that a famous fashion designer who also has a line at Target that sold out the first day and now Vizena toasters are on eBay for $120? Valerie Vizena. Vizena.

2. Wait, what nightclub where you get pushed around features classical music? Is there some kind of hardcore mosh-pit Beethoven scene I don't know about?

3. Bottle of sparkling wine and ham-and-brie panini. Yes.

4. HER RESCUE DOG GRRR. Not "her dog," "her RESCUE dog," and the DOG IS NAMED FUCKING GRRR. 3 R's. "Here, Grrr! Grrr!" People in the dog park must think she's a mental patient.

5. Let's move on. Her husband, Kirk Kitajima, is a bank brand manager who OF COURSE IS ALSO A DJ.

I know it's only April, you guys, but this may be The Most San Francisco Paragraph of the Year. I love it. I want to move into this paragraph and live there forever. If I'm not friends with Valerie Vizena and Kirk and Grrr by the end of the week, I'm fucking giving up.


MAD MEN SPOILERS AHEAD. I know I promised I wasn't going to talk about Mad Men this season but that episode last night was so off-the-charts weird I can't let it slide. I don't even want to get into Peggy getting baked and opening a Handjob Station in the movie theater, but I just have to say this. FROM WHAT I HEAR, acid trips typically involve one or more of the following: distorted senses; time dilation; visual hallucinations; the Grateful Dead; and a sense of oneness with the universe. What they do not typically involve is fucking MARITAL THERAPY. But who knows? Different strokes and all.


By popular demand:

Friday, April 20, 2012

Lyric Deconstruction: "This'll Be My Year"

Train, 2012.

Why do we hate Train so much? They're just a couple of middle-aged white guys, trying to make it in this world by putting out blandly moronic music to appeal to suburban Moms, dentist office waiting rooms, on-hold music loops, and the functionally retarded. So why do we pick on them and not, say, Maroon 5 or that other thing or that Matchbox thing or whatever?

Maybe it's because their lyrics are so insipid and awful. They've just put out a new album called LOOK AT US! WE'RE FROM CALIFORNIA! LOOK! OVER HERE! "California 37". The first song on the album is called "This'll Be My Year."

In '85,
Tuesday morning,
Came alive,
I didn't know ya
Route 66 is gone,
And Reagan's here,
It won't be long

Nintendo comes,
Live Aid, too,
Back to the Future
Where were you,
While I spent all my days
In Catholic school?

Oh goody! It's gonna be one of those montage-of-historical-events songs. I really think the Rosetta stone or the Ten Commandments or the Something of these songs is obviously Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire," although that seems to start in the 50's, and Train kicks off in 1985.

Also: I love "Nintendo comes." If you were a Space Alien or a Time Traveler from the Distant Past and you read this, wouldn't you think "Nintendo" was a savage, conquering god or a permanent, malevolent weather condition and not an 8-bit gaming system? I mean, the gravity of it! NINTENDO COMES. *BOOOOM*

In '89,
The dream begins,
First in line to California,
Pete Rose is banned for good,
The Simpsons come to Hollywood,
Russia leaves Afghanistan,
Flight 103 ends Pan Am,
Bush is here
This is the year
That I feel most alone

Somebody hit up the Wikipedia for "1989"!

No more
Countin' down the hours
No more
Wishin' you were here
I stopped believin',
Although Journey told me 'don't'
Before I call it a day,
Maybe this'll be my year
Maybe this'll be my year
Maybe this'll be my year
Maybe this'll be my year

I see what you did there! You stopped believin', although Journey told you "Don't"! Like "Don't Stop Believin'"! Although that came out in 1981 and kinda fucks your whole chronology. Anyway, this is why people hate Train. I can't put my finger on it exactly, but there is something so horrible and sad about referencing a Journey song in your song. And in the chorus, no less!

In '92,
A boy is born,
The skies were blue
In Ohio
Boris Yeltsin chills,
Freddie dies,
But Queen is still,
Barcelona has the games,
Lady Di is single again,
Clinton wins,
And I still dream
That I'll find you someday

Obviously, the first two lines are a reference to "actor" Taylor Lautner, born February 11, 1992. WHAT IS YOUR OBSESSION WITH TWILIGHT STAR TAYLOR LAUTNER, TRAIN SINGER PAT MONAHAN?

This whole verse is full of win. "Boris Yeltsin chills." That's right! "Yo, dude, I be straight chillin, institutin a policy of macroeconomic stabilization, mang. You down?"

In '97,
A baby girl,
Adds some heaven to the world,
Tony Blair tips the scales,
Elton sings for the Princess of Wales,
Microsoft buys into Mac,
My dad has a second heart attack,
And Train leaves San Francisco
In a thousand-dollar van

Train seems to have a particular interest in events in the British Isles. We got Pan Am Flight 103; Freddie Mercury dying; Lady Di's varying marital states; Tony Blair, always an electrifying figure in popular music, making his inevitable appearance, as he does in most MOR over-compressed pop songs; and Lady Di dying, accompanied by Elton. Odd.


The towers fell,
The World is stunned,
I wish I knew ya
I was on a plane,
The world would never be the same
The artificial heart is born--
Ironic when New York's is torn out

Began in May,
On tour when I met ya
Facebook joins the Internet,
Oldsmobile joins the cassette
I met your family
It took a while until you kissed me,
But when you did,
I finally felt at home

Jesus, this is really turning into a slog here. Can we start going in 10-year increments or something?

You wanna know why people hate Train? "The artificial heart is born--/Ironic when New York's is torn out/Woah-oah-oah-oah." Pat had come across the "artificial heart" part of the Wikipedia entry for 2001 and thought "Oh, shit, man, I can totally tie this in!" No.


And all I know
Is everybody comes and goes
Everybody sings and cries,
Makes the grade and takes the prize
In somethin', nothin', I don't care,
Because I always know that you'll be here
With me

You're really falling off here, Pat! A lot of stuff has happened already! Here, let me help you:

Greece is broke
Honduran prison fire with smoke
Farewell to Amadou Toure
Deposed as president of Mali
North Korean satellite
Hunger Games is super-tight
Keystone Pipeline hung up in Congress
And I still miss your sweet caress

You can have this one for free, Train.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Seven Types of People You Will Encounter at Giants Games

1. The Hardcore

Identifying trait: Old school radio headphones worn over tattered, pin-covered cap.

The Hardcore used to have season tickets at Candlestick and is still somewhat leery of "the new park." He or she has been coming to games since childhood and knows ushers by name. He or she can also run down entire boxscores from memory. The Hardcore is more hardcore than you.

Quote: "Chili Davis would have been all over that pitch."

2. The Business Douche

Identifying trait: Sunglasses perched on top of cap brim; relaxed fit jeans; Coors Light

The Business Douche is not really there to watch baseball. He is there to bond with his work bros, talk about the office, and get moderately drunk. Can be annoying after 3 Coors Lights.

Quote: "What, that girl Michelle in Accounting? I would hit that so hard, dude."

3. Two Asian Girls

Identifying trait: Texting throughout the game; Uggs.

As the name implies, Two Asian Girls travel together, and are rarely seen apart. They are nice to sit behind because they're usually quiet and don't get up much. May order churros and hot chocolate from passing vendors.

Quote: "Will you get me a churro?"

How many types can you spot in this picture? (Photo courtesy of I don't remember where I grabbed it from, sorry.)

4. Shaved Head From Modesto

Identifying trait: Lots of Giants gear; shaved head; tribal or armband tattoos.

SHFM is loud, somewhat drunk, and possibly angry if you're not cheering as vocally and as often as him. Often tries to start "Let's Go Giants!" chant at inopportune times; sits down disgustedly when no one else joins in.


5. Family with kid(s)

Identifying trait: One or more children, usually wearing child-size Giants gear of some kind.

As long as they can keep their seat-crawlers corralled and under control, Family with Kids is a fine row partner. They also usually leave by about the 6th inning, giving you extra space/disposal area for empties.

Quote: "No, don't touch that man, Jaden!"

6. Wearing Other Team's Gear

Identifying trait: Duh.

Wearing Other Team's Gear is from another city and wants you to know about it. In its most extreme form (e.g., Red Sox fans), this can be the most irritating and unpleasant lifeform at the park. Luckily, the Red Sox come here only every 3 years.

Quote: "This place is OK, I guess, but it's no Wrigley."

7. Baseball Hipster

Identifying trait: All or mostly all-black clothing; no visible team gear; facial hair (men only).

As a general rule, it is not permissible for hipsters to like sports. Some, however, have carved out a niche for baseball, which is acceptable because it's not as popular or as dumb as football and because it's got an element of ironic Americana.

Quote: "Is that MSTRKRFT they're playing between innings?"

Friday, April 13, 2012

San Francisco weather explained

HOLY SHIT! Did you see that? Last night it thundered and lightninged. That doesn't look right. It thundered and lit. Or something. Anyway, we all freaked out! And with good reason!

Photo via The Daily Mail and currency trader Phil McGrew!

This never happens here! That's why we all collectively lost our shit.

"But wait," Rest of Country is saying. "Why is thunder and lightning - a relatively common occurrence here in Wal-Mart/Applebee's Land - so rare in San Francisco? In fact, why is your weather so fucked up and gay, just like all of you weirdos that live there?"

I'm glad you asked. What follows is a brief course in San Francisco Climatology.

You see, San Francisco sits immediately to the East of the Trans-Pacific Beat Ridge.

As a result, the dominant weather pattern in San Francisco is COLD. It's just fucking cold here, pretty much 24/7/365. It can be July or January, we don't give a fuck, it's just cold. Deal with it.

Now, from time to time, the Trans-Pacific Beat Ridge starts flowing backwards or some shit, I don't even know, and as a result, moist air from the equator and cold air from the North Pole intersect by the Kraken.

When this happens, and it is rare, to be sure, the sky is rent asunder and the gods boom and the tears of my enemies fall as rain. Or something.

Anyway, point being, what usually happens in SF is that it's cold and sometimes there's fog and sometimes not. When it rains, it's usually like a thick mist. So when something like last night happens - thunder! lightning! loud noise from the sky! AAAAAAAAAHHHH WHAT IS THAT - it causes unrest and concern among the locals. Similarly, any time it gets above 72 degrees, there is a collective freakout and people make ill-advised fashion choices given how little their skin is exposed to direct sunlight and suddenly the whole town looks like someone took the Albino Village on a field trip to Daytona.

But we are nothing if not resilient! And San Franciscans' response to any extreme weather phenomenon is the same. Have a drink.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Lexicon of the Damned

Those words or phrases that make your skin crawl.

So I had made some kind of large food item, like a pasta thing or something, and I told The Wife that it was cool, we could "just eat on it all week." Her eyes rolled back in her head and she started shaking. "Don't say that," she said. "DON'T EVER SAY THAT." Turns out "eat on it" is one of those things she can't bear to hear. It makes her physically uncomfortable.

Here are some others that The Wife hates:

little boys / little girls room

I agree, anything infantilizing I also generally really dislike. Along those same lines, telling someone (usually a woman) that they "need to put on their big girl panties" is just awful.

Cool beans / coolio

Not the hip hop artist Coolio, but the practice of saying "coolio" for "cool" or "OK." Same with "cool beans." I had a friend who went so far as to say "Kool Moe D" for "cool," but the less said about that the better. He was something of a master at this kind of thing. He had a friend or roommate, I forget, named "Aundra," whom he referred to as "Bed, Bath, and Beyaundra."

I, personally, can't stand:

Popping [his/her/one's] cherry

I'm not sure whether it's the overtly sexual reference or it might just be the word "popping," but I loathe this phrase when used to mean "introducing someone to something for the first time," e.g., "Last night we went to the symphony and I popped Felicia's Mahler cherry."

Flip a bitch

As in "perform a U-turn." I don't know, it just makes my teeth grind together. Maybe because of the faux-bad-boy-ness of it all? Repugnant.


Lamesauce. Awesomesause. Killyourselfsauce.

Ping me

No. You are neither a submarine nor a Chinese panda. You are not getting "pinged." If you would like me to call you or email you, simply say that.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Show review: Jeff Mangum at GAMH

Jeff Mangum had a band called Neutral Milk Hotel back in the late 90's and made some weird experimental folk albums and was largely ignored and then went away. This would likely have been the end of the story, with the band and its albums known only to music geeks and people in other bands, except in 2005 Domino Records re-released the album "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea" and Pitchfork gave it a 10 and then everybody was interested in Neutral Milk Hotel and Jeff Mangum again. He responded to this newfound interest by doing nothing. (Well, he did occasionally appear on friends' bands' albums and at their shows, but not enough so that it could be said he was really doing something.)

Then all of a sudden last year he started playing shows again. And touring. He's going to play at Coachella this year, which for some reason seems very odd to me, I guess because his songs are strange and deeply personal and Coachella seems loud and hot and big and not deeply personal.

ANYWAY, last night he played at the Great American Music Hall here in San Francisco and we went to see it because I'm both a music geek and a person in another band and I've really liked his music for a long time. Although NMH's recorded stuff is a wild mix of instrumentation, with stuff like accordions and lengths of metal pipe and saws and God knows what else, for this show it was mostly Mangum and a series of acoustic guitars and occasionally some horns. He seemed comfortable and at ease on stage, which I was mildly surprised by because supposedly he's kind of a loon. But he bantered easily with the audience and seemed to be enjoying himself. He tore through most (or all, maybe?) of "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea" and threw in some other stuff as well.

And the crowd! Reverential is putting it mildly. This was maybe the first show I've ever been to where no one talked during the quiet parts. Sure, everybody sang along during the loud parts but it seemed oddly fitting and normal. But beyond just singing the words, the crowd went one better and hummed the horn parts that were missing on some songs. Intense.

He's playing tonight and tomorrow night at the Fox in Oakland, if you're interested. I have no idea if the shows are sold out or what, but worth a shot.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

I Thought She Was an I, But She Was Really a K

Here's my new song! Hope you guys like it. I just realized that it won't make any sense if you don't live in SF. So to my non-SF readers, sorry. Just play along like you know what's going on.

I Thought She Was an I, But She Was Really a K


I met her one Sunday in line for Boogaloos
Ritual or Four Barrel, it's so hard to choose
She said she was an installer of experimental art
I told her I lived near 16th and Mission BART


I thought she was an I but she was really a K
The parking permit on her bumper gave her away
With her tattoos and taste in brews I thought we'd be alright
But no, she was a secret K masquerading as an I

That night we were at my place; things were going fine
Smoking up some weed and drinking up some wine
I asked her if she lived nearby and she said "Oh no,"
"I'm not from the Mission. I live in Cow Hollow."


My worldview was shaken; my vision went awry
I felt like our time together was built upon a lie
She wasn't wearing yoga pants and didn't look all LA
So how could I have figured out that she was a K?


Now and then I'll see her drinking at the Lat
Talking to her Marina friends about how they're not fat
Maybe I'm superficial but it feels OK
At least I didn't get stuck accidentally marrying a K


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The scene: my house. The year: 1940.

It was like Spring Break for history nerds (History/English double major here WHAT WHAT) the other day when the US government released the Census Records from 1940. For a city as past-obsessed and navel-gazing as San Francisco, it was truly a gift like no other. We all immediately set out to find out WHO WAS LIVING IN OUR PLACE IN 1940. Burrito Justice is already on this, of course, since he is to San Francisco mapping and history on the Internet what I am to snark and reality shows.

Look, here's a sample sheet from my neighborhood:

I know, hard to read, huh? You can go look them up yourself if you want. Anyway, from this sheet we can see that Samuel and Effie Boukard lived at 127 Stanyan in 1940. He was an automobile salesman and made $500 in 1939. That's not very much, even by 1939 standards. Better step your game, Samuel Boukard!

So obvi, I immediately went and found the people that lived in my house. Now, if I just go off and use their real names, it'll take you about 5 minutes to cross-reference them with the 1940 San Francisco City Directory and then you'll know where I live and that'll be uncomfortable for all of us because for all I know I'll come home one day and you'll be sitting on my front step smiling and running your fingers over the blade of your razor-sharp scimitar and mumbling "My pretty, my pretty" to yourself. AWKWARD. So I have to change their names, but other info is accurate.

I had a whole family in there! Let's call them the Feldmans. Dad Max was a 58-year-old immigrant from Russia and Mom Annie was a 56-year-old from Lithuania. Annie tells the Census taker they have 4 kids at home, ranging in age from 28 to 16! Now, I know my place because I live there, and it's spacious enough, but not spacious enough for 6 people. "OY!!" Max says. "ALWAYS SO MANY OF YOU UNDERFOOT!"

Max is a "homepainter" and made exactly $0 on 1939. At least that's what Annie told the Enumerator! For all these guys know, the Enumerator works for the IRS. Max is making his money under the table, you know it. Then, as now, I bet you anything homepainting is a cash-preferred business.

Oldest daughter Sofia is a "book-keeper" for a "Home Owner's Loan Corporation." Other daughter Rosa is a restaurant cashier. At least someone's working for the family!

Then we have the strange case of the youngest son Leo, who was 16 in 1940. Annie tells the Enumerator that he's living at home in my house. But wait! According to the City Directory, he lives over on Russian Hill with Maria Feldman, who doesn't appear on the census form! What the hell! Who's Maria and why has she spirited away young 16-year-old Leo!?

Maria is obviously the slightly crazy free spirit who couldn't take Max's oppressive rules and rigid guidelines. So she moved out and got her own place. Then one day Leo skips school to hit a San Francisco Seals game (that 1940 team had the awesomely named WIN BALLOU) and Max hit the roof. "WHAT ARE YOU DOING, YOU LITTLE SHMENDREK!? GOING TO BASEBALL GAMES INSTEAD OF SCHOOL!!" So Leo says "Fine! I'll go live with Maria then!" and slams my front door and storms out. Max looks at Annie and sighs wearily.

(Incidentally, the real Max died in 1970, at the age of 87, still in San Francisco. Mazel tov, Max.)

UPDATE: WBTC did hers too.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Don't pull me over Mr. Officer

I know we have a lot of fun here and I try to usually steer away from Political Stuff because (1) it's usually more depressing than funny and (2) umm, it's just depressing, but let's do take a moment here to note that while we weren't paying attention we slowly started living in a fucking police state.

Exhibit A:

Supreme Court: Strip searches, even for minor offenses

Siding with security needs over privacy rights, the Supreme Court ruled Monday that jailers may subject people arrested for minor offenses to invasive strip searches.

By a 5-4 vote, the court rejected a challenge from a New Jersey man who argued it's unconstitutional to force everyone to strip down for inspection. Albert Florence was arrested by a state trooper because of an error in the state's records that mistakenly said he was wanted on an outstanding warrant for an unpaid fine. Even if the warrant had been valid, failure to pay a fine is not a crime in New Jersey.

Florence was held for a week in two different jails before the charges were dropped. But at each jail, he was required to shower with delousing soap and undergo a strip search.

Let me repeat: Florence was held for a week in two different jails. And got strip-searched twice. For no fucking reason at all. And that's just fine with the United States Supreme Court.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that the total number of United States Supreme Court justices who have been strip-searched is at or near 0. I've never been strip-searched either, and I don't particularly want to be, but I imagine it's a singularly unpleasant experience, ESPECIALLY IF YOU HAVEN'T DONE ANYTHING WRONG.

Pair this little gem up with a case a few years ago called Atwater v. City of Lago Vista, where the Supreme Court held that's it's fine to arrest you and take you into custody for a traffic offense that carries no jail time and now it's cool for the cops to arrest you for, say, jaywalking, take you to jail, and strip-search you. YAY AMERICA. Feel safe now?

Oh, here's part of their rationale:

"One of the terrorists involved in the September 11 attacks was stopped and ticketed for speeding just two days before hijacking Flight 93."

9/11. It's the gift that never stops giving. Anything the government wants to do to you can be justified by just saying the magic numbers "9" and "11." The terrorists fucking won, all right.

Exhibit B:

Illinois Traffic Stop Of Star Trek Fans Raises Concerns About Drug Searches, Police Dogs, Bad Cops

Not sure why it's important that this happened to a "Star Trek fan," but that's not really the point. This is the point:

Last December, filmmaker Terrance Huff and his friend Jon Seaton were returning to Ohio after attending a "Star Trek" convention in St. Louis. As they passed through a small town in Illinois, a police officer, Michael Reichert, pulled Huff's red PT Cruiser over to the side of the road, allegedly for an unsafe lane change. Over the next hour, Reichert interrogated the two men, employing a variety of police tactics civil rights attorneys say were aimed at tricking them into giving up their Fourth Amendment rights. Reichert conducted a sweep of Huff's car with a K-9 dog, then searched Huff's car by hand. Ultimately, he sent Huff and Seaton on their way with a warning.

The whole article is worth reading, as it's a dramatic example of what happens when the War on Drugs affects white people. Replace "Star Trek fans" with "any black person" and it's something that happens every day in America. Anyway, whatever gets this kind of BS noticed.

This really shouldn't even be a political or partisan issue. I would hope that even Tea Party types would realize that the "freedom" and "liberty" they claim to revere is getting taken away every day by the invocation of two words: "terrorism" and "drugs." We are all truly fucked.

(Title ref: a true classic.)

UPDATE: So timely, DEA and IRS!