Friday, September 28, 2012

Urban etiquette: You and Your Fucking Cell Phone

BASIC RULE: Never talk on your cell phone in public, ever.

OK, maybe that's unrealistic.  If your arm has been severed and you're gushing fountains of blood onto Van Ness and some guy is still trying to sell you a Street Sheet even as you start to lose consciousness, maybe then. 

Still too restrictive? Let's try and set some parameters then.

1. Interacting with Others: Don't Use Cell Phone

Look, maybe Walgreens clerks aren't Angels Sent From Heaven or Britney Spears or Your Mom.  Well, they might be your Mom, based on what I know about you.  Anyway, they're human beings and deserve common decency, which means interacting with them and saying "Thank You" and "Can you turn that display thing around so I can see how much my dental tape and copy of US Weekly and impulse buy Mr. Goodbar is going to cost?" instead of going blah blah blah into your phone and ignoring them. 

2. Crowded Public Transit Situation: Don't Use Cell Phone

True Story: I was on the 41-Union (which you already know this is going to be trouble, based on your 41-Union crowd) and some Jen in the back is braying into her phone about some meaningless crap and other people are talking and whatever and this Jen goes "Can you please hold it down?  I'M ON THE PHONE." 

Stunned silence.  It worked!

Don't be a Jen.  When you're on a crowded bus/train/whatever, keep your fucking voice down.  No one wants to hear about your new job or sexual exploits or family drama.  Well, it's possible I want to hear about your sexual exploits, so if you see me sidling up next to you, keep going with that.

3.  Everywhere: Turn Off the Fucking Click Sound

Hey hey hey, everybody, guess what? You can make your iPhone audibly CLICK every time you touch something so when you're texting your bros it can go CLICKCLICKCLICKCLICK every time you hit a key so "idk" is CLICKCLICKCLICK and "c u l8r" is CLICKCLICKCLICKCLICKCLICK.  Turn that feature off.

4. Here's a Good Test to Use if You're Wondering Whether You're Being an Asshole

If you're on your cell, and you hold up one finger in that "Wait just a second" motion, you're being an asshole.

5. If There Were Any Justice or Goodness in the World, You Could Be Legally Shot for These Things

- Talking EXTREMELY LOUDLY in an airport departure lounge about NOTHING. How can you tell? If you just used the phrase "I'm at the airport now."
- Talking on a cell phone in an elevator
- Looking at your Glowing Screen in a theater of any kind during a performance/show/band/movie.  I'm not even going to address answering your phone during a movie, because that is roughly the equivalent of lowering your pants and taking a shit in the middle of the sidewalk and I assume we all know that you can't do that.

6. Why are you even talking on your cell phone anyway? Do you not know about texting?

Texting is better in every situation, always. Just remember this simple rule: Always text, always.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

You're not imagining things. This has been the shittiest September in SF in years.

I'm always bitching about the weather.  That's because I just want it to be the best it can be!  No, really, we have this understanding here in lovely San Francisco: we will put up with cold and fog in June, July, and August, and in return, we will get glorious sunshine and warmth in September and October.

So far?  Not this year.

I had a feeling that this September has been totally fucked, so I went to the trusty records at Weather Underground to check and yes, I am right.  Here are the numbers, going back to 2008.

THIS YEAR, we have had a grand total of 6 days in September when it was 70 degrees or higher.  (The 1st,10th, 11th, 21st, 22nd, and 23rd.)  The high temperature for the WHOLE FUCKING MONTH has been 75 GODDAM DEGREES, on September 10.  That's right.  The hottest it's been in September is 75.  That's down jacket weather in Honolulu.

So is that unusual for September?  FUCK YES.  Last year, there were 20 days in September over 70 degrees.  In fact, there were 5 days in the 80s and 1 day in the 90s.

In 2010, there were 21 days over 70, including 5 days in the 80s and 5 days in the 90s.

Remember 2009?  If you don't, it's probably because you got heatstroke and you were in a coma most of the month, because it was over 70 almost every day.  25 days, to be exact, including 10 days of Zeitgeist-crowded, Phil Collins No Jacket Required 80s. 

So if you think this September - and, fuck it, this whole summer - has been shitty and cold, you're right. I went back to 1980 looking for another September this cold and couldn't find one and gave up.  WHO DO I WRITE A STRONGLY WORDED LETTER TO ABOUT THIS.

All I can say is it better be like Tahiti up in this bitch for all of October or I will FREAK THE FUCK OUT.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Today in Old Guy Rock news

Back in 1985 I bought an album called "New Day Rising" by a band called Hüsker Dü on CASSETTE.  This wasn't an ironic, arch, look-at-how-quirky-we-are-releasing-an-album-on-cassette thing, it was a thing because bands used to release albums on cassettes as a primary medium because people had cassette players.  There was no such thing as CDs and computers cost $10,000 and didn't do anything interesting.  DINOSAURS ROAMED THE LAND AND THE COSBY SHOW WAS ON PRIMETIME.  I was an impressionable youngster and loved the fuck out of this cassette (and the other Hüsker Dü stuff I subsequently bought).

Hüsker Dü went on to influence pretty much every band that came after them, including most bands you like.

 Hüsker Dü broke up and Bob Mould, the frontman, went on to form another group called Sugar that I also fell in love with, predictably enough.  And he also put out a bunch of solo stuff.  Then he started doing some electronica stuff that I never paid attention to.

Fast forward to now.  Bob Mould has put out a new album which is great and sounds just like classic Bob Mould stuff. (Well, it sounds like Sugar more than Hüsker, but that's fine with me.)

Bob looks like a comp lit professor in this video. We've all gotten old!

So Bob's playing tonight at the Fillmore.  I'll be there.  This'll be fun because I'm usually in the 95% percentile of oldest people at shows but I'll be in the bottom 20% at this one.  Also, The Thermals are opening and they're pretty great too.I was wrong; Churches are opening, not The Thermals, whoops.

If you're thinking about going and you're on the fence, let me just tell you that a couple of years ago I saw Bob solo at a Noise Pop show and even though it was just him and an electric guitar, no backing band or anything, I think it was one of the best shows I've ever seen.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Honest apartment ad is honest

$1395 / 1br - ♛ Cheapest One Bedroom in The City!! - Deep Tenderloin Location ♛ (tenderloin)

Not just any Tenderloin - DEEP Tenderloin. And they ain't kidding. It's on Leavenworth, between Eddy and Turk. Now, a landlord could say something like "Close to downtown!" or "In the heart of the hip Tenderloin!" but this guy is refreshingly honest:

"245 Leavenworth is located deep in the Tenderloin neighborhood between Eddy and Turk. The block is not for the faint of heart and maybe not appropriate for many types of tenants. If you do not know the area please investigate preferably by visiting 1st hand prior to making an appointment to view."

But wait! It gets worse! According to our pals at SFist:

City Attorney and mayoral candidate Dennis Herrera filed suit last week in Superior Court against landlord John Wai, owner of a 48-unit apartment complex at 245 Leavenworth. According to the public nuisance suit, Wai has allowed the place to become not only a festering cesspool of vermin and bedbugs, but it's also essentially being overrun by members of the Cambodian Crips, who also go by the local names Thug Lords, "TL," and, tellingly, "245."
Huh. I kinda like the video walkthrough:

Anyway, all this can be yours for $1,395 a month. NO PETS.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Did they sneak a venue into the Mission under our noses?

Apparently without anyone really noticing, what appears to be a fairly major venue is going to open in the Mission relatively soon. Why isn't this getting more coverage? I don't know, maybe it is and I just haven't noticed.

Here's a story in Mission Local from 2010:

The Planning Commission gave the owner of 777 Valencia the OK on Thursday to begin construction of two restaurants and a jazz venue, Preservation Hall West.

“We see great things for a long time to come in the Mission District,” said Jack Knowles, the owner of the property. Knowles also owns Oakland’s A Coté restaurant.

The Chapel at 777 Valencia will be an upscale restaurant serving New Orleans and Southern food, and the Second Line Café will offer more casual and moderately priced dining. The adjacent parking space will serve as outdoor seating for the café, and the auditorium will be an entertainment venue, according to the plans.

The Mission restaurants will take up 4,581 square feet and the jazz venue an additional 2,575 square feet at 777 Valencia, vacant since New College closed in 2008. The other former New College space, on the west side of the same block on Valencia, has been transformed into offices for tech start-ups and the Summit café.
Look, a rendering:

So far, interesting enough, but they're apparently already selling tickets for shows IN OCTOBER. And I'm talking about some serious fucking heavy hitters. Check out this lineup of shows for sale. The Preservation Hall Jazz Band on October 4 with motherfucking STEVE EARLE? October 4 is like 2 weeks from now. Is this place already built? And then Elvis Costello doing 2 shows on the 6th? Justin Townes Earle on the 7th?

(You should note that the Elvis Costello show is a benefit, and tickets are $150 apiece, so I guess the only people who live within walking distance who'll be going are the residents of 299 Valencia.)

I guess I'm just surprised I haven't heard more about this. Anyway, I'm at work. Can somebody go by and take a look and see if it's done?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

TK's Day Trips: Top of Mt. Tamalpais

Mount Tamalpais is that big thing you can see in Marin on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge. It was formed by geological stuff and volcanoes in 1953. It's 18,000 feet tall and is made of solid lead.

This past Sunday I decided it was time for another day trip. I'm not drinking right now, like you needed to hear me say that again for the 1,000,000th time, so I'm all bright-eyed and full of energy on Sundays instead of laying on the couch and softly moaning and drinking ginger ale so I dragged my wife out of the house against her will and forced her to come with me.

Mt. Tam State Park features some pretty great trails if you're into hiking and snakes. We skipped all that bullshit and drove straight up to the top. It's kind of a long drive because it's a really narrow, twisty road. Not a good idea if you're hungover or you'll surely barf. Especially if you're in the backseat. Don't question this; it actually happened to a passenger of mine in the mid-90's. Pulled over and they yakked. True story.

(Also, true story: I got married once on Mt. Tam. Not this time, a different time. I'll tell you all about it some day.)

Anyway so you drive up and up and wind around and around and then you pop out at a parking lot at the East Peak. You have to pay to park there but it's cool, it's worth it. There's a snack bar and restrooms and usually a European or two smoking even though smoking is technically illegal in the park.

So then you hike up to the top. (Oh, brief interjection: every time I go to the top of Mt. Tam it is significantly warmer than ground level. This is because the top is closer to the sun or something. No, not that, but all kidding aside, it's always weirdly warm up there. Something about temperature inversions or something. I'm sure one of you Junior Scientists will be on this.)

The first part of the hike up is this pleasant wooden plankway or whatever you call it, but then that ends and it's just a dirt/rock path for most of the way. Still, it's not a bad hike. Maybe 15 minutes to the top. Then you get up there and BWWWAAAAAAAHHHHHH look at that view.

Kinda hard to make out, I know, but on the left there you can see Angel Island and Belvedere and Tiburon and in the middle is Sausalito and in the distance is Our Great City. Here's a closeup on that:

Looking more to the left we can see more of Marin and the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge and also some dude who was chilling on the rocks and journaling or something annoying like that.

It was hot up there. HOT. So we hung out for a while and then we had to leave and drive back so I could see the second half of the 49ers game.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I don't understand this Venn diagram at all

This is an ad I saw yesterday at a bus shelter for something called a Speck. Speck apparently makes iPhone cases. How this ad will persuade you to buy an iPhone case is beyond me, but I never majored in advertising in college.

So we have three groups of people represented here: (1) People who think "hipsters" (ugh) "rule the Mission" (ugh); (2) People who do not think hipsters rule the Mission; and (3) People who are just looking for the best taqueria. The overlapping areas between (1) and (2), (2) and (3), and (1) and (3) are not labelled. I guess the overlap between People who think hipsters rule the Mission and People who don't is "People who are aware of the existence of the Mission" or "People who believe there is an identifiable subgroup called 'hipsters' and that term still has some kind of meaning". People who are just looking for the best taqueria, I don't know where you fit in. If you don't think hipsters rule the Mission and are just looking for the best taqueria, you're probably just a Normal Person or a Norteno or something.

Somehow, what all 3 groups have in common is that, apparently, they want or need or have a Speck thing. I'm not sure about this; the ad isn't really clear. Do you want a Speck now? I don't. Ad fail.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Come on, SFGate mobile, get your shit together.

SFGate, as you all know, is the website of the San Francisco Chronicle, our local daily shell-of-its-former-self newspaper. Craigslist killed it! Or something. Anyway, in its browser format, SFGate is fine. You got your different sections and your top stories and whatnot. It's pretty much exactly what you'd expect from a mid-range newspaper website; i.e., it's no LA Times, but it does the job.

SFGate for mobile, though, is a fucking trainwreck. Here are some screen shots I took yesterday (yes, I know it was 7:47 a.m. on a Sunday; I'm not drinking right now, so I wake up at 6:30 every day, more on that later).

Well, apart from the Choice Hotels ad, which I guess pays for this shitshow, what do you notice? Two stories about how Romney likes Obamacare! Guess what? They were the same story, listed twice in a row, and given slightly different headlines. This thing of repeatedly listing the same story over and over is endemic to the SFGate mobile site.

Then we have "Congress returns for short pre-election session" twice. No attempt to change the headline. Just spit the same fucking thing out. You could at least shake it up a little, SFGate. Maybe "Legislative body reconvenes for abbreviated activities in advance of national referendum"? There you go! BOOM, brand new story.

Here, once again, we didn't even bother tweaking the headline; it's just the same story, twice in a row. Did you like the story about the Tulane safety fracturing his spine? HERE, READ IT AGAIN.

Oh, and also, the headline "Ed Lee's cronies powerful, critics say" is hilarious to me, for some reason. It's so content-free! Like, what would Ed Lee's Critics say? "Ed Lee's cronies actually pretty cool, critics say"?

Let's scroll down and see what's going on in Business and Technology. Should be some interesting content or analysis there!

Sad trombone. We've got Son Of Romney Likes Obamacare, and a Duo of Congress Returns. WHOA I'M GETTING SOME SERIOUS DEJA VU. Really, SFGate?

I'm sure the mobile site is run by some bot that uses a free algorithm you can find online to pick stories and place them on the site, but AT LEAST have someone program the thing not to pick THE SAME FUCKING STORIES OVER AND OVER. Oh, fuck it. Why do I even care.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Let's all take the SFMTA Customer Satisfaction Survey!

Oh look! The SFMTA is conducting a survey! It's about Muni and cabs and parking and walking around town! This should be fun. Here's the first question, no joke:

"Don't know"! I don't know if I live, work, attend school or spend time in San Francisco! That's because I'm either in a persistent vegetative state or I work for the SFMTA! WHAT PLACE IS THIS? WHERE AM I? OH I'M SUPPOSED TO BE ISSUING PARKING TICKETS TODAY.

Let's look at some other questions on the survey.

Please rank the following concerns in order of importance when riding Muni

__ Timeliness

__ Cleanliness of vehicle

__ Pile of chicken bones / human excrement on vehicle

__ Fat guy taking up two seats

__ Chick listening to Weezy so loud I can hear it from her headphones 3 rows away

__ Guy with eyes pointing different directions talking about "wheels within wheels" and "the end of days"

Which of the following have you said while riding Muni / waiting for Muni? (please check all that apply)

__ Oh God, please get the fuck away from me

__ Wait, what? What the fuck? What do you mean, you're turning around?

__ Is that the bus coming? Oh, fuck, no, that's Golden Gate Transit. Fuck.

__ Six empty Ns going inbound, not one going out. Again. Fucking fuck.

__ 48 minutes? It just said 10 minutes! What the fuck!

__ I wouldn't touch that without a hazmat suit.

Which of the following are concerns when riding in a taxi in San Francisco?

__ Driver conducting loud and angry argument in Farsi on his cell phone

__ Driver conducting loud and angry argument in Farsi with passing motorist

__ Driver conducting loud and angry argument with me over some perceived slight

__ Called cab in 1986; hasn't arrived yet

__ Thought taxis only existed to circle City Hall honking horns during protest; was not aware they could be hired to give rides in city

Please rank the following parking scenarios in difficulty.

__ North Beach, Saturday night, 10:00 p.m.

__ The Mission, Sunday night, 10:00 p.m.

__ Anywhere I want to go on Saturday night

__ Anywhere near my house, Sunday night after 10:00 p.m.

As a pedestrian in San Francisco, which of the following are your concerns?

__ Being hit by car in crosswalk

__ Being hit by bicyclist in crosswalk

__ Being hit by agitated homeless person in crosswalk

__ Making it home before my corner store closes

__ Not falling down because I'm drunk

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A few scenes from my weekend


Happy hour, Hemlock, Polk Street. I thought it was a mix of some kind, but it's actually a DJ. Holy shit, he is playing some great stuff. Is that Rival Schools? Who ever plays Rival Schools? And Minor Threat? Heh, that's awesome.

There's one of those guys here with the loud barking laugh, though. Everything has its price.

Dinner, Darbar. What do you mean, they don't have alcohol? Oh, OK, whatever. It was fine. Not good enough to justify going there without alcohol.

Back to the Hi-Lo Club. Drinks are good, but it's more crowded and more, I don't know, Russian Hill-y now. There's a guy there with a backwards baseball cap, so I guess that's it for Hi-Lo Club.


In our quest to have brunch at every place you can have brunch in the Presidio, we're at Presidio Social Club for brunch. Wow, I guess this is where you take your parents and/or infants for brunch. We're the only couple without a couple of olds or a baby attached. Good bloody mary. I made a mistake ordering veal and eggs for brunch. I mean, nothing wrong with veal, but it's a little rich for noon on Saturday. Everything was fine and I'd come back again if I had a baby or some old people who wanted to eat brunch.

9 pm, The Independent where a couple of friends of mine are in a band called Halsted that's opening the night. They sound great. The next band is These United States, who I've heard a few songs by but who are much better live than recorded. I think. I might have just been drunk at that point.


It was nice and sunny out, so I spent the afternoon at the Gold Cane with Periqueblend. At one point, a couple of guys tried to get hippie with some acoustic guitars, so Day Bartender Jason leapt over the bar and filled the jukebox with Guided by Voices at high volume. It worked. The Gold Cane is a Safe Place.

Do anything fun?