Friday, August 31, 2012

TK's Day Trips: Del Valle Regional Park

Good morning! It's another shitty day in Arcticville!

Man, August has been a fucking drag. Every day it's foggy and fucking freezing and windy and all that shit. I know, I know, summer in San Francisco blah blah blah. It still sucks.

So last Saturday we finally were fed up and we piled the dog and some sandwiches into the car and drove about an hour and a half to Del Valle Regional Park, near Livermore. Guess what? It was delightful!

First of all, when we left the city it was around 58, 59, foggy and cold. When we arrived at DV, it was BRIGHT SUNSHINE and 75. We emerged from the car blinking in the bright light like fucking Mole People. The dog immediately started panting. He's part chihuahua and he's bred for this shit but he's not used to it now.

FEATURES: There's a big lake you can swim in. Canoes and kayaks and paddleboats available for rental. And a long off-leash dog trail that goes around the lake.

For a Saturday, it wasn't that crowded. I mean, the picnic areas were filling up by the time we got there at 11:30 am, but we only passed a few people on the trail around the lake. There was one big group in the shade singing what I took to be religious songs in a foreign language. So there's that.

It costs $6 to get in, plus $2 if you have a dog. I definitely recommend taking a dog.

So in conclusion, I would like to say:


Or maybe


Or just


Srsly, if you want a good day trip this weekend, head out there. Super nice. Have a great holiday weekend! It's Labor Day! That's the most socialist holiday of all! TAKE THAT MITT ROMNEY!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A few thoughts on Chuck Prophet's stolen gear

Chuck Prophet is a San Francisco-based musician/singer/rock guy. In fact, this year he put out an album called "Temple Beautiful" that's sort of a San Francisco tribute album. It's pretty great, actually, probably one of my favorite albums of the year. Here, check out a sample track:

Anyway, about a week ago, Chuck's guitar was stolen from his van at Noe and 14th.

But then it was returned! Here's part of the story, as recounted on Chuck's facebook page:

After Kara Johnson and Patrick Winningham came up with an action plan, they flyer'd every SRO on Market Street down through the 6th St. corridor and up into the 'Loin. The flyer offered a 200.00 reward then up to 500.00 and 600.00.

This morning I got a cryptic text message from a guy who said said he had the guitars and that we had a deal.

I was up in Seattle, so I called Patrick, who took it from there. With Tom Heyman in tow (wearing a belt buckle the size of a turkey platter), he headed out for the hand-off, pockets stuffed with cash. They negotiated a meet-up at the Starbucks on 8th and Market - neutral territory. "Mike" showed up with a crumpled flyer instead of a corsage. After a few pleasantries were exchanged, another guy wheeled around the corner on roller blades - with both instruments strapped to his back! Where's the film crew when we need 'em? Patrick and Tom docked these two fine citizens two C-notes (or was it three?) for spray painting the bass lime green (fair is fair), and drove off with the guitars.
So he got the guitar (and a bass that was also stolen) back! Happy ending. Good for Chuck.

I had a couple of thoughts about this whole capade:

1. If you spend any time in the Civic Center area (like I do), you know EXACTLY who the Guy on Rollerblades is. He's a fixture in the CC, and can often be observed wheeling around tossing a football back and forth with some of his comrades. I figured he was just a drunk, but I guess he's also into stolen property.

Of course, there may be more than one guy who hangs around near 8th and Market and habitually gets around on rollerblades, but I doubt it.

2. If you have ever played music outside your home, the first thing you learn is never, ever leave anything in the car. Sadly, musicians get their gear stolen depressingly often. Chuck just got back from a world tour and then managed to get his shit stolen in his own town. That fucking sucks.

3. Fuck these guys. I'm glad Chuck got his gear back, but fuck them.

4. Chuck's playing at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. I saw him at the Makeout Room back around Christmas, and I can verify that he puts on a good show. If you happen to be going to HSB, check it out.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Republican National Convention Schedule of Events


Virtually all convention activities scheduled for Monday have been cancelled due to Hurricane Isaac. Pat Robertson will hold a briefing at 6 pm to explain "Why This Hurricane Doesn't Represent God's Wrath When Hurricanes That Hit Democratic Stuff Always Do".


The convention proper will kick off with the ceremonial Execution of a Mentally Retarded Inmate. Rick Perry will push the button. Cocktails and heavy apps in the Guillotine Room to follow.

National anthem sung by Ted Nugent, followed by "Wang Dang Sweet Poontang".

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus will give a speech entitled "How to Pronounce Reince Priebus".

Roll call for nomination of president of the United States. Opportunity to wear tricorner hat and wave snake flags. Please keep sidearms holstered during the nomination. There will be an opportunity for Yosemite Sam-type dancing and firing weapons outside following the nomination.

Rick Santorum will speak on "A Woman's Place Is In The House. And the Backyard! And the Minivan! And Maybe In the Secretarial Pool if Her Husband Gives His Permission!"

Gov. Nikki Haley, R-S.C. will give a speech entitled "Is It Hot In Here? No, It's Just Me! The Global Warming Myth".

(NOTE: Shuttle busses from convention site to Deja Vu Showgirls are NOT endorsed by RNC.)


Remarks by Unnamed Romney Campaign Staffer on "Our Anglo-Saxon Heritage; Let's Work to Preserve It!"

Rep. and Senate Candidate Todd Akin on "How To Tell If You Have Been Legitimately Raped Or If You're Just One of Those Fakers, You Whore."

Todd Akin pushed offstage.

Sen. Rand Paul on "Why Doesn't Obama Look Like Us? Hint, Hint".


Sen. Marco Rubio on "Los Republicanos Son Muy Buenos". Your gardener or maid will be on hand to assist with translation.

Rep. Lamar Smith unveils plan for new "Happiness Fence" along US-Mexico border.

Rep. Steve King will speak on "There's Something About Obama That's Different from You and Me and Romney But I Can't Quite Put My Finger On It".

Remarks by Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney.

Lighting of cigars with $100 bills.

Closing National Anthem: "Beloved Isle Cayman".

Thursday, August 23, 2012

What's going on with the Top 3 songs in the country right now?

I don't listen to the radio much or ingest music however kids today get it. I don't even know how they get it. They haven't played music on the MTV since Carly Rae Jepsen was a fetus and I thought radio was a dead medium so I don't know how songs make it into the Billboard Hot 100 anyway. I think it's all ringtones now or something. Anyway, from time to time I like to check it out and see what's popular these days and then make fun of it.

So these are the Top 3 songs in America right now. Let's find out about them!

(Incidentally, #4 is the now-ubiquitous "Call Me Maybe" by the aforementioned no-longer-fetal CRJ, a song that has so thoroughly penetrated the collective consciousness of This Nation that even I, crusty veteran that I am, have heard it hundreds of times. And I will even admit, it's a perfectly fine pop song, just like many others of its ilk.)

The Number One Song in America today is the lengthily-titled "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," by Kennedy Wedding Crasher Taylor Swift.

TS was once a country artist! This is not a country song in any sense of the word. It's more or less the current prototype Pop Hit - essentially pointless verses that are just there to space out the BIG SOARING CHORUSES. Do you know why all pop hits today sound the same? Because, like this song, they are all co-written by Max Martin. He wrote or co-wrote everything from "I Want It That Way" to "Since U Been Gone" to basically every Katy Perry hit. So if you ever wonder why every song sounds the same, you have this crazy fucking Swede to thank for it.

Anyway, WANEGBT is fine. Glossy, shimmery, instantly forgettable. It's no Call Me Maybe! TAKE THAT, TAYLOR SWIFT, YOU SOCIAL CLIMBING BITCH. Oh, sorry. I'm sure you're very sweet.

Number Two is "Whistle," by Flo Rida.

This is terrible. And it took 6 people to write it!

Here are some sample lyrics: "Can you blow my whistle baby, whistle baby? Let me know / Girl I’m gonna show you how to do it and we start real slow / You just put your lips together and you come real close / Can you blow my whistle baby, whistle baby?" WHAT DO YOU THINK HE MEANS BY THAT?

Anyway, let's move on. The Number Three song in America is "Lights," by Ellie Goulding. My first thought was "Who the fuck is Ellie Goulding?"

Oh, she's British, apparently. Anyway, this is fine, I guess. Hmmm, it might be a little catchy, actually. It's a lot better than that Flo Rida song, anyway.

In other Top 100 News, that fucking Gotye song has dropped to #11, there's a song with the kinda genius title "Truck Yeah" by Tim McGraw, apparently on hiatus from kicking foreign ass, at #59, and a lot of people like to have other people "featuring" on their songs.

This concludes this week's investigation into the Top 3 Songs.


Reader Stoney asks: "Is "Flo Rida" pronounced like 'Ore-Ida,' the manufacturer of Tater Tots?"


Monday, August 20, 2012

The Ballad of Melky Cabrera

Gather round children, and let me explain
How Melky Cabrera juiced up his game

He started a Yankee, and he did OK
But he wore out his welcome, and they gave him away

Down in Atlanta he wasn't great with the bat
And all that fried food started making him fat

Next was the Royals where he stopped for a year
He hit .305 there and relaunched his career

Royals will be Royals, though, no matter what
Giants got Melky and KC got a nut

In San Francisco Melk decided he would go wild
So he got on the juice and Marketing smiled

Melky, oh Melky, you've crushed all your fans
All that testosterone can't make you a man

When he was busted he honestly thought
Some fake fucking website would get him un-caught

We're all embarrassed, but the truly ashamed
Are those dudes dressed as Melk Men who came to each game

Melky, oh Melky, you've crushed all your fans
All that testosterone can't make you a man

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I can't believe I just discovered this

I like popcorn. I kind of got into it in the 90's when microwave popcorn first got big. I used to not go to the movies much, which is why (1) I have a huge blind spot for movies, meaning I haven't seen a lot of movies that make people go "Wow, you haven't seen that?" when I tell them I've never seen that. I've never seen Sophie's Choice or Dances With Wolves or any of the American Pie series. I just saw Blade Runner a few months ago, and didn't finish it. Wow, I am really, really getting off topic here, and (2) so I got into microwave popcorn first and theater popcorn second.

So microwave popcorn sucks. Only half the kernels ever pop, and it just doesn't have the right texture or taste. So The Wife bought me an air popper which is awesome if you like to chew on styrofoam packing peanuts.

Then I saw this article about making popcorn on the stove like our ancestors did and I tried it last night and HOLY SHIT I HAVE FOUND THE SOLUTION TO POPCORN. It was so fucking good. I literally can't wait to go home tonight and do it again.

Here's the recipe, if you can even call it a recipe, from the linked article above:

Stovetop Popcorn
Yield: 1 to 3 servings
Time: About 5 minutes

1 generous tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon popcorn kernels

1. Put the oil in an 8-inch saucepan over medium-high heat. (If you’re using another size saucepan, just use enough oil to cover the bottom in a very thin but unbroken layer.) Add the popcorn; the bottom of the pan should be covered in a single layer of kernels. Cover partially and cook undisturbed until the kernels begin popping. Once the corn is popping in earnest, give the pan an occasional shake.

2. When the popping slows to the point that there’s an interval of 1 to 2 seconds between each pop, remove the pan from the heat and transfer the popcorn to a bowl. Season with salt and serve immediately.

(1-3 servings my ass. 1-1 1/2 servings, more like.)

I mean, GUH-DOI, why did it take me 25 years of popcorn eating to finally realize you could make it like this?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Recycling poachers make the news

Finally, KTVU has turned its all-seeing eye to the MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE OF OUR TIME: Recycling Thieves.

As longtime readers know, I have a borderline unhealthy obsession with Recycling Poachers. Look, I have enough problems already without trying to figure out why, but I think it's (1) the continuous noise of bottles clinking together the night before recycling pickup and (2) the fact that they leave the bins open and then trash blows up and down my street, making it less aesthetically pleasing and thus further away from the Platonic Ideal of a Street that I want and (3) it activates some particular Cell of Krazy in my brain that I don't even understand and that Science hasn't begun to explain, what with all the trips to Mars and cancer and other priorities.

ANYWAY, in my old hood I finally figured out I could deal with this by bringing the bins out in the morning but in my new hood the trucks comes by at like 6 am and that's no longer an option. So I'm basically locked in a mano-a-mano standoff with the guy who steals all the recycling every week on my street. Surprisingly, he appears to live in the neighborhood, because I sometimes see him on the 5 Fulton on non-trash days, suggesting that he's a local whop apparently commutes downtown to do something and just has a Recycling Poaching sideline business.

He pretty much dominates the poaching in my neighborhood. He's out there with his cart starting around 6 and systematically cleans out every bin in like a 4-block radius every Monday night. I would almost admire his industriousness if he wasn't driving me fucking insane.

So in conclusion I'd like to say that I'm crazy.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Story ideas for Bold Italic

OK, Bold Italic, I've been reading for a while and I'm ready to suggest some ideas for a FOUND LOCAL or BOLD LOCAL or whatever the person is who writes this stuff. Here's a couple of concepts just off the top of my head that I think will fit right in. GET AT ME.

Animals of San Francisco Neighborhoods

I know, you're starting to run out of ways to publish the same tired stereotypes of SF neighborhoods over and over, but we can still do it! In this piece, a 24-year-old white person who's lived in SF for 2 years will anthropomorphize an animal for each SF neighborhood. Like, the Tenderloin Rat can have a crack pipe! Oh, fuck, that is funny. And the Marina Minx will be leaning against a BMW! Fuck, this shit writes itself. And the Bayview Badger....uh, never mind.

Illustration: Cartoon of The Chinatown Chipmunk, with slanted eyes and a pink bag and a coolie hat! HAHAHAHA SO CUTE.

Bring Out Your Dead

A chick with a bird tattoo will interview SF funeral directors, who will be confused by questions about artisanal embalming and whether they serve single-batch bourbons at wakes.

Illustration: Cartoon of two dead hipsters with X's for eyes.

Night Crawlers

A chick with a chest piece will interview a confused Lithuanian cabdriver about what it's like to drive a cab on the overnight shift in SF. "I pick up fare, I drop off fare," he says to the clearly disappointed just-out-of-J-school interviewer.

Illustration: Cartoon of a cab catching air going over a hill with a full moon in the background.

Now What Is That You Do Again? Accountant? What Does That Mean?

A dude with a lot of tattoos who works as a barista and is in a folk-metal band and is also a "writer" interviews six San Franciscans with regular jobs who get up in the morning and go to work and then come home and take care of their families and have never heard of underground dining clubs or Hard French.

Illustration: Cartoon of the writer staring incredulously at one of the interviewees after he says he's never been to the Hideout at Dalva.

Home Is Where the Heart Is

A chick with severe bangs will enter the shadowy world of DIY heart surgery and talk to "Boris" and "Natasha," two locals who have rejected Big Medicine in favor of operating at home.

Illustration: Cartoon of the the old "Operation" game with a map of SF where all the organs are

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The long, long, long weekend

Hi everyone! It's been a while, I know. That's because I took a few days off work and God knows I can't be bothered to blog if I'm not at work. At the risk of boring the fuck out of you, here's what happened:

On Thursday we went to the 12:45 pm Giants game. It was terrible. Once Barry Zito gave up four runs in the first inning, it was pretty much all over. BUT it was actually really sunny and nice and it's always pleasant to sit in the sun and drink some beers while other people exercise in front of you. One dubious decision we made, though, was to walk to the game from our house in the Inner Richmond. Now, it's about 5 miles away and we're both in pretty good shape but The Wife was wearing Chucks which don't exactly offer a lot of foot support and by the time we reached Townsend and 9th (which is like 90% of the way there), she had become (as she will freely admit) somewhat grumpy and I probably wasn't helping but the upshot of the whole thing was that we made it in time and whatever.

Then afterward we couldn't find a cab and we didn't really want to deal with Muni so we saw a town car cruising around and paid him $40 flat to take us home. (I don't know if this is just a San Francisco thing or not, but here you see black town cars that sometimes just aimlessly drive around and then pick people up, like cabs, except they're not cabs and they don't have meters and you negotiate your fare with the driver and I think the whole thing is unlicensed and shady but it still is the best option sometimes.)

On Friday we went to Costco. We just became members. It was my first time in a Costco. Wow, I had no idea. All the jokes about the gallon-sized mayonnaises and 64-roll packs of paper towels are true. We kind of aimlessly wandered around because we don't really NEED anything and we ended up buying a case of Pellegrino and a few bottles of wine and champagne and 1000 Ziploc bags and 2 watermelons and some other stuff. Mostly because once you get in there you feel like buying shit all of the sudden.

On Saturday we went to eat at Broken Record. BR is this dive bar with a kitchen in the back that everyone raves about. In what is either the best thing or the worst thing that can happy to you, Guy Fieri dropped by and put it on his show.

Anyway, we had been hearing about how great this place was and finally decided to go check it out. It was OK. The Wife had the crawfish grits, which also came with house-made sausage and was probably the best thing any of us had. Tom had the lobster mac and cheese which was good? I guess? And I had the pork tenderloin sandwich which also came with a thick slice of heirloom tomato and the tomato overpowered the taste of the pork, oddly. It was still good though.

One moment of panic that also explains a little about the crowd here: We're hanging out at a table by the front door when The Wife suddenly gets up in a panic and says "There's a guy with a huge snake by the door" and bolts for the back room. I should explain that The Wife has a serious snake phobia. So I look out the window and there's a guy in a wife beater with a shaved head and what looks like a full complement of prison tattoos and curled around his shoulders and torso is a large dark green snake. It appears that the door person at the bar has told him he can't come in with his python or boa constrictor or whatever which seems like a sensible policy, given that I've seen at least two chihuahua mixes wandering around since we've been there and those are probably Good Eats for a snake like that. Anyway, the guy seemed to take it in stride and didn't stab anyone or unleash his snake on the crowd.

On Sunday we had brunch at our house because it was The Wife's birthday. If you know anything about how we do brunch, you know how this ended up: 5 full bags of recycling and a lot of conversations I don't remember.

Yesterday we laid on the couch and watched Food Network and HGTV for about 6 hours.