Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Another boring post about how bad rents in SF have gotten

I know, it's been a while!  I missed all you guys a lot, but I was busy flying all over the US and having Thanksgiving and whatnot.  Nothing bad happened on any of the flights (except for one jackass slamming his seat into full recline 12 seconds after takeoff and essentially eliminating half of my usable space [Incidentally, we should just agree, as a society, that we can no longer recline our seats. The airlines have fucked us on that one by making the seats way too close together. I'm sorry, but that's just the way it is.  If you recline your seat into the lap of the person behind you, you are now a total asshole.  Them's the breaks.]), to which I credit the tender mercies of Frontier Airlines, my longtime favorite airline.

Also, every Frontier flight just about goes through Denver, and Denver has one of the last airports with multiple bars you can smoke in without leaving the airport.  I quit smoking a while back but that was nice to have when I needed it.


Oh, right, rents in SF!  Crazy!  Not long ago I happened onto this post on Curbed about what you can rent for $2000-$2500 a month and was SHOCKED to see the STUDIO across the hall from where I used to live on Frederick is going for $2,250!!!  HOLY FUCK.  That is a STUDIO.  Now, it's a big studio - I should know, I've been in it - and it has a nice big separate kitchen and all, but come the fuck on.

I had the 1-bedroom across the hall from 1992 to 1996.  We paid $895.  According to my handy inflation calculator, that's $1432 in today's dollars.  That's for the ONE-BEDROOM, not the studio.  Since the ad is still up, I guess that means that it still hasn't been rented.  I hope they never rent it at that price. 

Similarly, as I've mentioned in the past, when I first moved to SF in 1990, I lived at 350 Union, in a furnished studio that cost $685.  Same studio today is $1939.  Inflation calculator says it should be $1212.  That's still a lot, but it's not $1939.

I'm not going to launch into another one of those what-happened-and-what-does-it-all-mean articles like this one, except to make one small observation: when rents are this ridiculously high, it greatly restricts the kind of people who can move to SF, and that's a bummer.  I certainly doubt I could have afforded that studio in 1990 for $1095 (i.e., 1939 in 1990 dollars), so I would have been effectively kept out.  I'm not saying that I've been some kind of magical addition to SF or anything, but I'm lightweight worried that cool people who don't make six figures are being kept out and who knows what we're missing out on. 

That said, I have no idea what the answer is.  I get the objections to the micro-apartments that have been approved, but doesn't it seem like a reasonable compromise?  If I was 23, I'd live in one, for sure.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Holiday travelers, shoppers brace for busy week

[ED. NOTE: Are you a beleaguered and probably hungover metro reporter who has been assigned the busy shopping/traveling story this week?  Stay in bed, turn on the TV, and file the following story.  Simply select the best options, where provided, for your local area.]

As Thanksgiving approaches, (Tri-State/Quin-city/area) travelers have little to be thankful for. From long security lines at local airports to rising gas prices, the road to Grandma's house may be more challenging than ever this year.

"We're driving this year," says local resident (Stephen Janeki/Jesus Moreno/Tufui Ai'i).  The way that airline fares are right now, we couldn't afford to fly."  His family may find that local roads are (clogged with fellow travelers/remarkably empty thanks to the hantavirus/filled with idiots).

At (Clarence C. "Bud" Shapiro/Eisenhower/Marco Rubio) International Airport, long security lines greeted frantic flyers, many of whom bore Thanksgiving treats that prompted extra scrutiny.  TSA officials remind travelers that (baked goods/liquor/cash) will likely be confiscated, so please do not argue with any of the nation's valiant, brave TSA officials.

Meanwhile, employees at the (Shady Tree/Value Village/Hiddenbrooke) Mall braced for an onslaught of Black Friday shoppers seeking deep discounts.  "It's gonna be crazy," said (J.C. Penny/Hot Topic/Animal Attic) employee (Stacee Robledo/Marcia Spoon-Withers/"Dave").  "We're opening at 10 pm on Thanksgiving night, to accommodate the crowds of (anxious shoppers/drunk people/soulless dead-eyed automatons)."  At the (Computer Cabana/Toy Shoppe/Wal-Mart), employees expected that (cheaply made Korean laptops/Touch Me Elmo/multiple baby baby formula) would be a big seller.

But many area residents paused during this busy time to remember those less fortunate.  At the (Salvation Army shelter/soup kitchen/downtown library), some families volunteered their time to help the homeless and hungry.  "It warms my heart, man," said (Jed Johnson/"Porkchop"/Andy Dick), who said he ran into trouble when (his house was foreclosed/he tried Four Loko/he had a show on the CW).  "These people giving their time to help out someone like me."

(Giving back/helping others/a 50" plasma flatscreen), it seems, is the best present of all.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Urban etiquette: Let's go to the grocery store!

It's almost Thanksgiving!  That means record numbers of Americans will enter a grocery store.  Or something.  I mean, a lot of Americans go grocery shopping every week.  Like me.  Here are some tips to help you be less of an asshole while you're buying dry goods and/or Nutella.

1. Your dog doesn't want to go grocery shopping with you.

I love dogs!  I have one.  Everyone I know has one or two.  They're the San Francisco version of children.  They're especially San Francisco because you can bring them into some bars.  Anyway, your dog doesn't want to go grocery shopping with you, so don't bring him/her.  I swear, I see a lot more dogs in grocery stores these days.  I'm starting to get used to it, which is worrying.  If you need me to explain to you why you shouldn't bring your dog grocery shopping, we have already given up as a society.

Look at the dog! With his little shopping cart! That's ridiculous. (Photo stolen from Darf Blog.)

2. Hey bitch, you're blocking the aisle with your cart while you mindlessly jabber away on your cell phone

This phenomenon, part of the broader problem of inconsiderate cell phone use, seems to be more prevalent at - HERE COMES A SHOCKER - the Marina Safeway, in my experience.  Anyway, try to be at least a little mindful of the people around you? Okay?  We can't see the Smuckers selection through you.

3. I am a real person with thoughts and feelings

True story: I am at the Church & Market Safeway selecting red peppers when a guy LITERALLY gets DIRECTLY in front of me and starts manhandling all the peppers.  Like I was Patrick Swayze in Ghost.  At first I thought he was joking and then I was just like "I'M NOT IN YOUR WAY AM I" and he looked up all startled but even this little bit of Public Shaming didn't deter him from his Rude Pepper Grasping. 

So if someone is looking at some produce you want to look at too, WAIT FOR THEM TO MOVE AND THEN YOU CAN LOOK AT PRODUCE NEXT.  Fuck.

4. I gather there are all kinds of different rules transgressions at Rainbow, but I practice basic hygiene and eat meat like a normal person so I never go there

If you have some juicy Rainbow breach of etiquette stories, post them in the comments, hippie.

5. The Whole Foods at Franklin and California is a vortex of misery and general dickish behavior.  Don't ever go there.

6. Here's the big one: 15 ITEMS OR FEWER

You know who you are, you evil little shit.  You count all boxed goods as one item or you think "Eh, 16, close enough."  NOT CLOSE ENOUGH.  Here's the rule: if it's all in one container, it's one item.  Otherwise, it is MULTIPLE ITEMS.  12 apples in a bag?  Cool bro, one item.  4 cans of Dinty Moore beef stew?  FOUR ITEMS. 

Needless to say, if you get in the 15-or-less line with more than 15 items, you are irredeemably evil and there is no place for you in society.  Quit your job and go live under an overpass with the other sex offenders, you writhing piece of human garbage.

PROGRAMMING NOTE: As is our wont this time of year, we are off to the Old Country on Monday to Thanksgive with the extended fam.  Blogging may be sporadic.  In the meantime, enjoy the Thanksgiving Schedule I threw up in 2010 and which is still mostly true except I don't think we drink as much anymore.  The Wife sure doesn't, what with the foetus and all!  Anyway, have a nice whatever it is you do.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Movie Tuesday

I don't do a lot of movie reviews because God knows that is well-trodden Internet ground, but once in a while a movie comes along that is so annoying and pretentious that I am moved to say a few words about it.  Save the Date is just such a movie.

You would think that post-Mumblecore, the world would be ready for the astutely-made, three-act conventional structure hipster romantic comedy. I think that's what they might have been going for here, although who knows really. Unfortunately, unlike airplanes, movies don't come with a black box so you can analyze the data after a crash and see just what the filmmakers were trying to do and whether anyone ever yelled "PULL UP! PULL UP!" during production.

Basically, the movie is about a pair of objectionable sisters played by Alison Brie and Lizzy Caplan.  Alison Brie is about to get married and is freaking out about gift bags and invitations in a very cliched way while her put-upon fiancee with scraggly hair and a beard just wants them to have fun like they used to.  Lizzy Caplan is, I gather, some kind of Williamsburg/Los Feliz sex symbol with the big dumb eyes of a slow loris and a self-consciously quirky post-Zooey Deschanel vibe.  She's also rail-thin like everyone else in this movie.  In the film, she is some kind of artist, although her "art" more closely resembles primitive cartoons or doodles in the margin of notes she took during classes at Oberlin.  After her boyfriend, who is the lead singer in a band and looks not unlike Marty Feldman in a wig, proposes to her, she dumps him and takes up with a marine biologist named Jonathan who is so twee and fey that the first time they kiss, he begs off because you "know what kissing leads to" and flaps his arms like a bird and flees Lizzy Caplan's apartment.  What she sees in him is never adequately explained, unless she is looking for an 11-year-old boy in a cardigan and attempt at a beard. 

Nothing really happens in the rest of the movie.  People show up drunk to each other's apartments and it's awkward.  People without any visible means of support occupy warehouse lofts in LA that must rent for $3000 a month.  The same joke about bands with "wolf" in the name is deployed twice, landing flat both times. There is one plot twist that I won't spoil here but is so obvious and pointless you can see it coming a mile away and still don't give a shit. 

I would really like to see a smart, modern romantic comedy that's not afraid to play with the conventions a little bit and features characters that somehow resemble people you actually know, instead of Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston.  Maybe that's what they were going for here.  I don't know.

(We saw this on Comcast On Demand last night and I gather it's not in theaters yet so heads up, you've been warned well in advance.)

On the other hand, Cloud Atlas was great and you should definitely see that.  It's big and sprawling and somewhat confusing but it's so interesting and thought-provoking that all else is forgiven, even Tom Hanks being somewhat miscast.  Just the idea of translating that megalith of a book into something you can fit on the screen in a little under three hours is amazing to me.  Hats off to the screenwriter for pulling that off.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Tweets my Dad would send if he understood what Twitter or the Internet was

The dog is outside #whyisthedogoutside

Having an apple


Obama! #angry

Looks like we're going to get some weather

Now why did I walk in here

Another telemarketer! Why do I even pick up the phone!

I'm not paying any $2.99 for a pound of grapes

Why is my son so liberal #sanfrancisco

Friday, November 9, 2012

Presenting the Greatest Show in the History of Television, ever

It's on VH1 and it's called "Couples Therapy."  It's a reality show.  Basically they get several ZZZ-list "celebrities" who are having marital difficulties to move into a house with their maybe famous/maybe not spouses and try to Work Shit Out with the assistance of Dr. Jenn Berman, a foul-mouthed marriage counselor who has a radio show on Sirius and looks like the best friend in a romantic comedy.

There are so many amazing things about this show I barely know where to start.  So I'll just dive in.

One of the couples is underage Twitter whore/professional underdresser Courtney Stodden and her husband, That Guy From Lost.  To the extent that you've ever had any thoughts about Courtney Stodden, they're all true.  She is literally the Worst Thing on the Planet.  When Dr. Jenn Berman tries to institute a dress code to keep Courtney Stodden from wearing clothes that would make a San Pablo Ave. hooker embarrassed, Courtney Stodden casts herself as the Rosa Parks of teen sluts and declares that she is unwilling to put on a shirt.  This causes Courtney Stodden and That Guy From Lost to be banished from the house, ONLY TO RETURN IN A FUTURE EPISODE.  DUN DUN DUNNNNNN.

Another one of the couples is TOO $HORT AND MONICA.  Holy shit, Too $hort, WTF?

Too $hort kind of wanders through the show with a constant "what the hell am I doing here" expression, which makes perfect sense.

Another couple is some guy named Nik who runs a website called The Dirty that I had never heard of and his wife, Lorenzo Lamas' daughter Shayne.  They got married in Vegas after knowing each other for an hour and a half!  And then had kids!  They clearly, CLEARLY loathe each other.  I hate them both with the white-hot intensity of molten platinum.  If there were any justice in the world they would both be working the night shift at a Huddle House in Mobile, Alabama instead of constantly fighting with each other on TV.

I could go on, but it's just too much.  Oh, one more thing.  Every week Dr. Jenn Berman brings in a guest to I guess tell the fractured couples about how to be better at marriage and one week it was this guy whose story was that he STALKED A CHICK HE SAW ON A MAGAZINE COVER FOR 20 YEARS and then when he finally broke up with his boring-ass first wife he got in touch with her and she somehow agreed to MARRY THIS CREEPER.  What a true tale of love and inspiration!  The lesson is: Get fixated on the platonic ideal of a woman you want and then wait out your first bullshit marriage and YOU SHALL HAVE HER.  See?  Isn't your marriage all fixed up now?

This show is more important than the Fiscal Cliff and the Mars Rover combined. Get on it.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

This is the last election-related thing for a while, I promise

But I have to just put this out there because it is BLOWING MY MIND.

So current Supervisor Eric Mar won re-election in District 1, where I live.  He got 11,495 votes.  Second place was David Lee.  He got 8,225 votes

(My personal choice, fellow recycling theft opponent Sherman D'Silva, clocked in with a relatively anemic 1,608 votes.  WE'LL GET 'EM NEXT TIME SLUGGER.)

So total spending on the David Lee campaign by David Lee and outside groups supporting him was around $800,000.  EIGHT HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS, or about what a modest home in District 1 costs. 

That means that David Lee spent about $97 per vote. And lost.  WOW.  Next time, try handing out crisp hunskies, David.  Sure, you'll need to raise $1,149, 600, but that's not THAT much more.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Internal Visigoth Memo re: Roman election night

TO: Alaric I, King of the Visigoths, Exalted Leader, &c.

FROM: Gregor, Lord of the Campaign

RE: Post-Mortem on Election Losses

To His Most Royal Majesty Alaric I:

As you are no doubt aware, we rather resoundingly lost the election last night to the Roman Emperor.  Although of course the immediate execution of a large number of campaign staff will be necessary and called for, I'd like to take a moment and explore some areas where we might have failed to win the hearts and minds of the Roman electorate.

Women.  Whether fair or not, the Romans seemed to have the impression that we would either not advance women's rights or would take them backwards.  While of course I agree with your position that women are property and should be beaten mercilessly until they are compliant, it is possible - possible - that the majority of voters held another view.  Also, we should explore cutting down on using the terms "upright cattle," "fetus-carriers," and "kitchen whores" when referring to women in future elections.

Economy.  Romans have the sense that the economy is improving, and they still blame your predecessor Athanaric for existing economic problems.  Although this is demonstrably unfair and untrue, the repeated torture and execution of those perpetuating this blasphemy has failed to curb it.  Threatening to eliminate the Free Bread and Chariot Races was a mistake; these programs are very popular, even if they are expensive, and Romans will not stand for their elimination.  Also, your proposal to reduce the tax rate on the nobility, while proper and correct, might have been viewed with suspicion by the average Roman. It was probably a bad idea for your cousin to host his annual Let's Bathe Ourselves in Wine While Feasting on the Bodies of the Poor party last week.

Foreign Policy.  After years of fruitless and expensive wars against the barbarian hordes, Romans have little interest in more conflict.  Your proposal to launch wars against the Vandals, Franks, Goths, Spaniards, Cantabrians, Byzantines, and, well, every other organized society in Europe was of course magnificent and would no doubt have rained glory upon your memory, but failed to connect with the average Roman. 

Health Care.  A thousand pardons for this observation, Most Glorious One, but after you implemented a successful program of bleeding and leeches for the Visigoths, which the Romans then copied, it became difficult for you to disavow bleeding and leeches as a model healthcare plan.  While your suggestion of Letting Sick People Die would of course have been more budget-friendly in the long term, it was not popular with the Romans.

This is not to say that the Visigoths cannot continue to be a viable force in Roman politics.  We may need to soften the tone a little, though.  Suggesting that the Emperor is the bastard child of dirt-eating peasant hordes turned out to be an unsuccessful strategy.  And Rome may not be ready for our pro-rape agenda.  Nothing a little message tweaking can't fix.  Instead of "Vote Visigoth, or We Will Dismember Your Family and Feed Their Entrails to Our Dogs, If They Will Deign to Eat Such Trash," maybe something like "Vote Visigoth, For a Brighter Tomorrow," or something like that.  I'm just brainstorming here.

Monday, November 5, 2012

TK's 2012 Election Prediction Special

Barack Obama will win re-election.  His electoral vote total, I'm gonna say, um, 303 or 310.  I don't even know if that's mathematically possible, I'm just feeling numbers here.

Fox and Friends host Steve Doocy will muse about whether this means Obama is Dictator for Life now and also where should we turn our Bibles in.

Chris Matthews will say something stupid.

CA ballot propositions:

Prop 30, the Bail Out the Legislature For Years of Fucking Up By Holding a Gun to Schoolchildren's Heads Act, will pass, by a very small margin.

Prop 31, the Fuck Up the Budget Every Two Years Instead of Every Year Act, will pass, I guess.

Prop 32, the Kill All Unions Act, will fail.

Prop 33, the Something About Auto Insurance Act, will pass.

Prop 34, the No Way Are People Going to Vote to End the Death Penalty Act, will fail.

A note about this one: I am aware that the last round of polling showed this one passing.  I don't buy it.  The death penalty has always had broad popular support because people like revenge.  I just don't see enough people voting for this.  Hey, hopefully I'm wrong, but we'll see.

Prop 35, the Something About Human Trafficking Act will pass because people don't like humans or traffic.

Prop 36, the Fix Three Strikes and Stop Putting People Away for Life for Stealing Pizza Act, will definitely pass because (a) it's totally reasonable (b) even District Attorneys are for it and (c) George Gascon's hair is in a commercial against it.

Prop 37, the Everybody Freak Out It's Genetically Modified Oh No Act, I think will pass?  Not sure.  OK, I have to pull the trigger so yes, it will pass.

Prop 38, the Rich Lady Who Wants to Take Down Jerry Brown With a Competing Tax Measure Act, will not pass.

Prop 39, the I Didn't Even Know There was a Prop 39 Act, will either pass or fail but nobody will know or care.

There are apparently some local SF ballot propositions too?  I think? Wake me up if any of them involve recycling poaching.  SPEAKING OF THE DEATH PENALTY.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Which District 1 supervisor candidate's staff can read and understand English? Let's find out!

I live in San Francisco's District 1, a land of Great Opportunity and Promise that contains, besides my house, most of Golden Gate Park, all of Land's End, approximately 4200 Chinese restaurants, San Francisco Brewcraft, and the Balboa Theater.

We're having an election for Supervisor on Tuesday!  The incumbent supervisor is Eric Mar, who is famous for making San Francisco a national laughingstock via his successful initiative to ban McDonald's from putting toys in Happy Meals.  That was stupid, so I'm not voting for him.

If you live in SF (and maybe other places in the World too, I don't know) you know that around campaign time, you get a METRIC SHITLOAD of campaign flyers shoved under your door and attached to your doorknob or whatever you have.  If you're a sane person, these all go straight into the recycling.  They're like getting the Yellow Pages one page at a time.  Useless.

So in an effort to cut down on this bullshit, I put a sign on my gate that said "PLEASE NO FLYERS."  Easy enough, right?  End of the Flyer Problem?

No.  Not end of the Flyer Problem.  Whether out of spite or uncaring, candidates continue to leave me flyers, often attached, as the flyer below, DIRECTLY UNDER THE SIGN THAT SAYS NO FLYERS.

I know, it's hard to see, but the white thing at the top is my sign that says "PLEASE NO FLYERS" and the blue/red thing is a flyer from Supervisor Candidate David Lee.


Phil Ting left one yesterday. I didn't know he was running for anything.  Apparently he's running for Assembly.  I wasn't aware we were voting for Assembly this time.  Now I will be voting for Michael Breyer.  He wants to invest in the future!  I'm for that.  Also, he's the Candidate Who Would Never Leave a Flyer Under a Please No Flyers Sign.  I'm a narrow-issue voter and so far he has satisfied my narrow issue. 

For Supervisor, I am voting for Sherman D'Silva.  So far, Sherman D'Silva has not left any flyers, so that's good.  Also, check out Priority #8! "Require garbage provider to provide lock for all cans (to limit removal of recyclables and prevent garbage from spilling into streets."  Despite his failure to close his parentheses, I'm swooning. Sherman D'Silva wants to crack down on recycling poachers!  Be still my heart.  YOU HAVE FOUR DAYS LEFT NOT TO FUCK THIS UP SHERMAN D'SILVA!

Meanwhile, I'm not the only one with campaign literature problems.  Apparently London Breed doesn't know her district boundaries.   But I do love that name.  London Breed.  The London Breed sounds like a punk band from 1979. Oi!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Throwing tortillas is a thing, apparently, and other observations from the Giants Victory Parade/Civic Center Clusterfuck/Speechifying Boreathon

[NOTE: This will probably be the last post about baseball for a while.  Like until next year, probably.]

Every two years, thousands of people gather in San Francisco and especially in Civic Center Plaza to watch a parade, blow off work, drink Jagermeister, smoke a ton of weed, and celebrate a World Series victory by the San Francisco Giants, who are rapidly becoming the New York Yankees of the '10s.

The 2010 parade, which I also covered, was notable for the fact that it was 81 degrees out and it was also the first time the Giants had won the World Series since they moved to San Francisco when The Ed Sullivan Show was still on the air.  This year was considerably colder and also seemed a little drunker, for some reason. 

We were all worried about this guy, who climbed up on top of a 5 or 6-story building and stood there at the edge.  One strong breeze and the cleaning crew would have been wiping this guy off the pavement instead of just confetti.

Anyway, the parade had all the usual stuff with the cars and the Cal Marching Band and whatnot.  The big story, I guess, was Sergio Romo and his t-shirt that said "I Just Look Illegal," which got more attention than anything else, pretty much.

When Romo came by where we were perched, fans along the sidewalk started throwing tortillas at him.  Romo seemed to get the joke, and ran around grabbing the tortillas up and throwing them back into the crowd.  He looked like he was having a total fucking blast.

I didn't really get why someone would think ahead to bring tortillas to a Giants Victory Parade for the purpose of throwing them at Sergio Romo.  Or maybe somebody just happened to have a package of tortillas, and thought, "What the fuck, I'll throw these at the guy wearing the provocative shirt about illegal immigration."  There were so many possible levels of irony and cultural coding that I needed an Ethnic Studies major to explain them all to me.

Then I got this tweet.

Huh. I did not know that. I remember seeing flyers all around town for Incredibly Strange Wrestling, which was a thing in the 90's here in SF and which Bob Calhoun has written a book about, but I didn't know (1) that it involved coordinated tortilla throwing and (2) that this tortilla throwing survived ISW and became a Thing unto itself.  I'm still not sure how the mechanics of this work.  Do you just carry tortillas around and hope for an opportune moment to throw them?  Is it a coordinated thing, or are there Lone Ranger Tortilla Throwers?

ANYWAY.  The party then progressed to Civic Center Plaza, which had become fairly crowded.

There, Mayor Ed Lee and Giants exec Larry Baer proceeded to suck the life out of the crowd with a couple of long boring speeches.  Larry did the whole Growing-Up-On-29th-Avenue-in-The-Richmond thing which is great and all but nobody really gives a fuck.  People at these things want to cheer for the players, not hear the executives' life stories.  No towheaded 10-year-old with a Lincecum jersey and eye black on says "GEE DAD I HOPE WE GET TO HEAR THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER!!!!"  No.  They want to hear the players yell shit like "THANK YOU SAN FRANCISCO."  Which they did.

(Also, I don't want to get morbid or anything, but Gavin Newsom's daughter looks EXACTLY like Jon-Benet Ramsey.)

So there you have it.  When they win again next year, I wonder if the same number of people will show up.  Yesterday, there were people who got to Civic Center Plaza at fucking 1 a.m. Wednesday morning.  I can't imagine.

So congrats, Giants, on a great year and a truly unbelievable playoff run.  Honestly? I still can't believe they actually came back from 0-2 against Cincinnati.  Everything since that has felt kind of unreal.

Also, make sure and re-sign Angel Pagan.  That is all.