Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My favorite tweets of 2013

I meant to do this annually, but I did it once in 2010 and forgot.  Anyway, I feel like it's been a while and I need to post something and I don't really have anything substantive to say.

(You don't want to hear about recycling poachers any more, but let me just say that my next-door neighbor has invented a new way to make recycling poaching even more annoying.  Last night he waited until the RP was outside on the sidewalk and then rained down empty cans from his second-story window, like a medieval townsman emptying a chamber pot, except instead of shit it was empty aluminum cans that pinged off the sidewalk like TINK! TINK! TINK! while the RP scrabbled around scooping them all up.  Unbelievable.)

Without further ado.




The look on the dog's face.





That's one of my favorite tweets of all time, actually.






Topical!


I'm a big fan of the "Girl are you" and the "Girl you can call me" tweetforms.


I just found this one a couple of days ago, even though it's from July, and have been laughing about it ever since.






The Wife and I both laugh every time someone mentions this tweet, which is a lot in our house.


Strong contender for best tweet of the year.
See you next year! I promise to work harder on the content side.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Misadventures in driving

Man, I thought coming back from Petaluma to SF on 101 South last night was bad.  Basically every car was swerving and just generally DUI-ing all over the road.  Terrifying.

But, amazingly enough, just driving around SF this morning was actually worse.  I don't know if people are still drunk or they just let the idiot of the family drive as a Christmas present or what, but I saw some truly terrible driving today.

EXHIBIT A:  Driving up Ninth to Market, you can turn left on Market from - quelle surprise! - the LEFT HAND LANE.


This was my plan: to turn left onto Market from the left-hand lane. Simple in scope; presumptively easy in execution.  As I approached the intersection, the light turned red.  A black BMW was in the lane to my right.  The BMW, unfazed by the now-red light and resolute in determination, turned left in front of me, not letting either the fact that he was in the wrong lane or that the light was red, affect his steely intention to get shit done.

EXHIBIT B: Not 2 blocks away on Market, a car sits, left turn signal on, trying to make a left turn directly under a large "No Left Turns" sign.  Cars pile up behind this Mensa candidate and start honking.  He will not be deterred.  He will turn left.  Your rules mean nothing to him.

EXHIBIT C: The piece de resistance, if you will.  The scene is Church, just past Duboce, approaching Hermann.


This story involves a Prius, so you know it's gonna be good.  Prius drivers are, without any question, the Worst Drivers in the World.  I don't know if innately bad drivers prefer Priuses or if driving a Prius turns you into a clueless asshole, but there it is.

OK.  So there are two buses where you see the bus in the picture.  Both of them are waiting to turn left at the stop sign.  Prius is behind Bus #2; I am behind Prius.  Now, these buses are not idling or stopped or broken down; they're simply observing correct stop sign behavior.

THIS NONSENSE WILL NOT STAND FOR MR. PRIUS.  Buses!  Stop signs!  They are impediments for puny mortals, not for the Godlike Titan who pilots the Prius.  He pulls out into the wrong lane, passes the two buses going up Church the wrong way, forcing the front bus, who is now beginning to turn left and whose driver must have been thinking "WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK IN FUCK IS THIS FUCKING IDIOT DOING", to suddenly stop, and turns left onto Hermann.  I was PRAYING some car would whip around the corner and head-on collide this festering sore on the face of humanity, but no such luck.  He got away with it.  They always do.

Be careful out there.  It is truly a free-for-all on the roads, and you may not make it.  Stay home with a bottle of Bulleit and cable TV instead.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Lyric Deconstruction: "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing"

Charles Wesley, 1739


Hark the herald angels sing 
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Merry Christmas! Or happy holidays or whatever.  Today we're taking a look at "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing," which I think we can agree is much better than Charles Wesley's original lyric "Hark! how all the welkin rings." I mean, what the fuck.  (Here's the wiki on H!THAS.)

Anyway, the "newborn king" referenced here is probably Elvis.  Nah, I'm kidding, it's Jesus.  Although Elvis and Jesus had a lot in common!  They both had the same middle name, "Aaron," and both were known for healing the sick through the power of their rock.

You don't see a lot of "hark" any more.  It would be kinda cool to bring "hark" back instead of, say "hey."  "Hark, you going to the store?  Can you get me some papers?"  "Hark, man, get the fuck off my car!"  It would really give a nice Dickensian flair to things.  BRING BACK HARK.

"Peace on earth, and mercy mild, 
God and sinners reconciled!"

I always thought the idea of "God and sinners reconciled" was kinda cute, like they just had a couple of differences of opinion to be sorted out.  "OK, God, it's cool," the sinners would say.  "We're reconciled."  Not exactly Jonathan Edwards-type stuff.

Joyful, all ye nations rise, 
Join the triumph of the skies; 
With th' angelic host proclaim, 
"Christ is born in Bethlehem!" 
Hark! the herald angels sing, 
"Glory to the new born King!"

Honestly, probably not "all nations."  I can't imagine Saudi Arabia is joining the triumph of the skies any time soon.  And I don't want to get too nitpicky here, but rhyming "proclaim" and "Bethlehem" is a bit of a stretch, Charles Wesley.

What you MAY NOT KNOW is that H!THAS keeps going!  And the second verse is, um, meatier.

Christ, by highest heaven adored; 
Christ, the everlasting Lord; 
Late in time behold him come, 
Offspring of a virgin's womb.

Ew.  I don't know about you, but I'd rather keep wombs out of my Christmas carols.  It's a little, uh, clinical or something.  "Christ came down to hang with us / Out of Mary's uterus"  Uh, no.

Also, yesterday I learned that 1 in 200 pregnant American women claim to be virgins.  Virgin birth is very, very common!  Imagine this knowledge had been widespread in Jesus's time.  He would have been a successful carpenter and we'd all be worshipping Frank the Horse Trainer or somebody.

Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail th' incarnate Deity,
Pleased with us in flesh to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel.

That's a lot of flesh, Charles Wesley!  Also, don't hate me for this, but when I hear "veiled in flesh" the first thing I think of is Ed Gein, not the Godhead.

Hark! the herald angels sing, 
"Glory to the new born King!"

Got it. Thanks, Charles Wesley! There's a third verse too - I know, mind blown - but let's call it off here.  Everybody have a great Christmas or whatever it is you do!  See you on the other side.

Friday, December 20, 2013

In defense of "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives"

(OPENING PARENTHETICAL: I just checked Food Network's site and yep, it's "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives," no Oxford comma, TYVM.)

At the risk of this blog turning into a TV-only affair, let me say a few things about "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives," which airs virtually nonstop on Food Network.  I know that Guy Fieri is an easy target; I've made fun of him myself.  How could you not?  The hair, the backwards sunglasses, the dog named "Rockstar."  It's all too easy.

BUT let me make the audacious claim that DD&D is actually a pretty good show.  Here's the basic format: Guy goes to one of the aforementioned types of places, talks to the clientele about why they like the place so much, and then gets the owner or operator to show him how to make one or two of the place's signature dishes.  Here's an example, featuring the Tune Inn in DC:


It's not rocket science, but here are the good things about the show:  First, the places he's featuring are all non-chain, usually owner-operated small-time restaurants.  It's good to see those kinds of places getting some love.  I am ancedotally informed that when he featured the Tee Off and the Broken Record here in SF, it helped out both places tremendously.  (Both are pretty good, BTW, and worth a visit.)

Second, for whatever reason, Guy Fieri is really good at describing what he's eating.  Any TV dork can take a bite of something and go "Mmmmm, crunchy," but Guy is uncommonly good at conveying verbally how something tastes.  It doesn't seem like rocket science, but it's surprisingly hard to do!  Here's a (somewhat below-average) sample.  I could find a better one but what am I supposed to do, watch YouTube clips of Guy Fieri all day?  Anyway, Guy's describing the Guinness beef stew at this Irish pub, and he says it's "rich, flavorful, full of depth," that it has "really nice rounded, roasted flavor . . . nice velvety texture from the mushrooms, and the meat just completely dissolves-in-your-mouth tender."  OK, I know, it's not M.F.K. Fisher but M.F.K. Fisher didn't hit three spots per half hour episode.

And third, yes, Guy Fieri is a total dork and can be completely irritating, but the man brings the enthusiasm to every place.  You got to admire that.

Oh, and fourth, for someone who's into food like me, it's pretty interesting to see how these restaurants make their dishes.  In fact, after seeing one segment I actually hunted down the recipe they made and did it up at home.  I can't remember which restaurant or what dish so don't even ask.

That's it.  I'll try and write about non-TV matters soon.  Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Best/Worst TV of the Year

The Americans

It's hard to pin down exactly what made this little show about Soviet spies living as Americans in a DC suburb in the 80's one of the best things on TV this year, but I cannot fucking WAIT until it starts up again in February.  The performances - especially Keri Russell as your dream housewife/incredibly dangerous human weapon - were great, but maybe it's the fact that the two spies are at once within and without American culture? Haha, that is some grad school bullshit right there.  But you should watch it.  BEST

Here's the trailer from last season:


Bachelor Sean

This season was even more depressing and boring than most seasons, chiefly because Sean had the personality of a lobotomized chair, and the women weren't much better.  Since recapping the Bachelor/ette is now my personal Sisyphean task in life, I had to watch it, but there was something uniquely difficult about this season.  I wish I had died instead.  WORST

Bar Rescue

Since two of my main interests in life are bars and yelling at people, this show really hit the sweet spot for me.  Angry Jon Taffer, who claims to have rehabilitated 28,000 bars on 14 planets in the last 340 years, blazes into your failing bar and revamps it with a new aesthetic and drink recipes and a new name, usually something like "Boxes and Brews" or "The Road, A Postapocalyptic Bar" or something else equally nonsensical.  He's accompanied by noted mixologists who attempt to teach mouth-breathing 22-year-olds how to bruise mint for a keffir lime mojito when we know they would have trouble locating the open end of a beer mug.  It's totally entertaining.  BEST

Mad Men

I still love this show but last season was kind of a drag, you know?  I mean, it was still awesome and everything but I like TV shows where things happen on them.  C'mon, Don Draper, fucking do something.  BEST/WORST

Breaking Bad

We binge watched the whole series in like a month to get ready for the final 2 months of the show.  It was awesome.  BBREAM.  BEST

Downton Abbey

It's basically the English manor One Life to Live, but who didn't get hooked on watching those crazy Brits fuck around with each other?  I just want it to go on and on and on into the modern age so we can see Lady Mary's hippie granddaughter bring Black Sabbath around.  BEST

How I Met Your Mother

How Is This On TV, more like, amirite?  I don't know, I've never made it through a full episode.  The Wife loves it for some reason but every time I watch 3 minutes of it I'm like Donald Trump at the White House Correspodents Dinner. WORST

World Series

Too much Boston Red Sox.  Not enough Giants.  WORST

Love/Hate

I know I've gone on about this show way too much.  WHY HAVEN'T YOU WATCHED IT YET.  Fuck.  BEST

Monday, December 16, 2013

Doe, a dude, a dude you know

Everybody knows the "Do Re Mi" song from "Sound of Music," but it's clear we could improve on the lyrics.  "Sew, a needle pulling thread"?  Sure, maybe in the Middle Ages!  And "La, a note to follow So"?  Totally phoning it in.  Let's update.

Doe, a dude, a dude you know


Ray, the guy who banged Kardash


Mi, that crazy singer chick


Fa, a million meter dash

Tso, I love that bird to death


Lah, that girl from the Internet

Tea, a name for crystal meth

Which brings us back to doe

What up doe

Thursday, December 12, 2013

San Francisco can truly become great with the creation of a GWZ

Some tech bro just wrote another one of those why-is-San Francisco-so-terrible posts that blew up and made everyone hate him!  Here's part of it:

Just got back to SF. I've traveled around the world and I gotta say there is nothing more grotesque than walking down market st in San Francisco. Why the heart of our city has to be overrun by crazy, homeless, drug dealers, dropouts, and trash I have no clue. Each time I pass it my love affair with SF dies a little.
The difference is in other cosmopolitan cities, the lower part of society keep to themselves. They sell small trinkets, beg coyly, stay quiet, and generally stay out of your way. They realize it's a privilege to be in the civilized part of town and view themselves as guests. And that's okay.
In downtown SF the degenerates gather like hyenas, spit, urinate, taunt you, sell drugs, get rowdy, they act like they own the center of the city. Like it's their place of leisure... In actuality it's the business district for one of the wealthiest cities in the USA. It a disgrace. I don't even feel safe walking down the sidewalk without planning out my walking path. 
You can preach compassion, equality, and be the biggest lover in the world, but there is an area of town for degenerates and an area of town for the working class. 
(Thanks to Valleywag for the selective bolding.)

Tech Bro is right! We need an area of town for degenerates!  That's why I'm proposing the creation of a Godforsaken Wretch Zone (GWZ) here in San Francisco.  We can then move the Crazy, the Homeless, the Dropouts, the Trash, and Internet Explorer users there and have them out of our hair as we march forward into the New Utopia.

I propose a number of areas in the GWZ where the Enlightened can visit and do their part to help out the Human Trash.

In Trinket Town by Etsy, the gnarled underclass can sell their pathetic little goods.  You'll stroll happily through a faux streetscape and purchase their little geegaws with Trinket Town Tokens, which are not redeemable for alcohol.  "Oh look!," you'll cry.  "The little orphan girl is selling her handmade bracelets!  Let's get one for Skyler!"

Over at the Snapchat Shooting Gallery, you can fire actual coins and bits of chocolate at homeless dropouts who are "workin' the range"!  They get to keep what hits them!  You'll have fun and help out society's trash at the same time.  Watch out for Jimbo!  He may look weak, but he can move!


And don't miss the Genentech Garden of Diseases!  "Daddy, why is that man coughing blood?"  "Hold on, sweetie, let's read the placard.  Oh, he's got pneumonia and bronchitis!  Don't get too close."  "Gross!!"

What could be better than giving to the less fortunate out of the goodness of your heart, expecting nothing in return?  Why, giving with the expectation of a cheerful song by a happy street urchin!  Over in Pandora Panhandlers' Row, your (non tax-deductible) donation prompts one of our prescreened musical hobos to attempt the song of your choice!  "Play Teenage Dream again on your battered guitar, Mister!," you'll shout with glee.

We're currently looking for space for the GWZ.  Hmmmmm, with Candlestick coming down......

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

"Book of Mormon," eh.

Sorry I've been slacking off here; I've been busy.

We went to see "Book of Mormon" at the Orpheum.  The problem with going to see BOM is that it is so wildly overhyped at this point that it was bound to be disappointing.  I mean, when Penn Jillette says it's better than The Clash, the Sex Pistols, and George Carlin, if you don't LITERALLY orgasm during the performance, it's a letdown.  (Penn Jillette orgasm video via Generic, thx.)

I didn't literally orgasm.

Here's why I think it's so popular:  it marries conventional musical structure to a mildly subversive plot (Mormon missionaries go to Uganda and encounter benighted brown people; Mormon religion exposed as ridiculous) and transgressive language ("Fuck you, God, in the ass, mouth and cunt").  It gives people permission to laugh at things they normally couldn't laugh at, like someone else's religion, AIDS, Africans, and female genital mutilation.  People like to be shocked, and it's (sort of) shocking.  And it's occasionally funny; not as funny as most episodes of "South Park," but it has its moments.

For me, it was about a half-hour too long.  It really drags at the end of the first act and beginning of the second, and then wraps up far too quickly and neatly.  The songs all sound roughly the same - like someone was trying to write songs that sounded like they were From a Musical, which I guess is actually true.  And there is the whole race problem which I won't get into here but other people have taken a look at.  I guess go see it if you love musicals and think "I have maggots in my scrotum" is hilarious.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

These vegetarian faux crab cakes were a big hit

2 things: (1) I like crab cakes, but don't particularly like the taste of crab.  I think I like the crispy fried aspect and also I like the taste of Old Bay seasoning; (2) Our friends Stephen and Jessica are vegetarian and come over for dinner not infrequently so I'm constantly looking for new vegetarian things to make so it's not just some pasta again.  Also, Jessica is a fantastic cook and so we're locked in an eternal struggle to see whose cuisine reigns supreme.  (NB: It's possible Jessica doesn't know about this last element.)

Anyway, everybody loved these.  Original recipe from Food & Wine magazine.  Can be vegan too - just sub vegan mayonnaise, whatever the fuck that is, for the mayo.

  1. 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for frying
  2. 2 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (cut from 4 ears of corn)
  3. 1/4 cup minced onion
  4. 1/4 cup minced green bell pepper
  5. One 15-ounce can whole hearts of palm—drained, thinly sliced lengthwise and cut crosswise into 3/4-inch lengths
  6. 2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
  7. 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  8. 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  9. 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  10. 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons plain dry bread crumbs, plus more for coating
  11. Salt
  12. Freshly ground pepper
  1. In a nonstick skillet, heat the 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the corn, onion and bell pepper and cook over high heat until crisp-tender, 4 minutes. Scrape 1 cup of the mixture into a food processor and pulse to a coarse puree.
  2. In a bowl, squeeze the hearts of palm to break them into shards. Add the puree and the remaining sautéed vegetables to the bowl, along with the Old Bay, parsley, mayonnaise, mustard and the 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of bread crumbs. Season lightly with salt and pepper and stir until evenly moistened.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and fill a pie plate with bread crumbs. Scoop scant 1/4-cup mounds of the hearts of palm mixture into the bread crumbs and roll to coat. Form the mounds into eighteen 2-inch cakes and transfer to the baking sheet.
  4. Wipe out the nonstick skillet, then add a scant 1/8 inch of oil. Fry half of the cakes over moderate heat, turning once, until crispy, 2 minutes per side. Wipe out the skillet and add clean oil before frying the remaining cakes. Serve the cakes hot.

So that's the official recipe.  I made them  few hours ahead and put them in the fridge; I would recommend you do the same, or else they'll probably fall apart on you.  Mine fell apart a little bit anyway and then individual corn kernels EXPLODED in the oil and sent oil flying everywhere.  NOT COOL MAN.  So watch out for that.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Please consider these items from the Bold Italic gift store this Christmas

San Francisco Neighborhood Stereotype Greeting Cards

What does Chinatown say?  Congraturations!  Get this and many other simpleminded stereotypes of various San Francisco neighborhoods in this lovely set of greeting cards.  Your friends will roar with laughter when they get a card from the Haight Street hippie wishing them a "Groovy Birthday, Man!" Guess what?  It's foggy in the Sunset!  SO IRONIC. (NOTE: Set does not include Ingleside or any other neighborhood where recent transplants don't go.)  $27.00

Wooden Moustache

Choose this fun, funky accessory for the person on your list who keeps a sombrero in their closet for Cinco de Mayo and who would think a wooden moustache is hilarious.  Item has no practical use whatsoever.  No returns.  $49.95

New Mission Resident Handbook

Did you just move to the Mission from Back East?  SO DID WE!  With this handy guide to your new neighborhood, you'll be all equipped for your new life in San Francisco's most vibrant neighborhood.  What do you do when a brown person tries to talk to you?  Which burrito is most like Chipotle?  Is it OK to call the police if there are no more outlets at Ritual?  Get the answers to these questions and more! $35.00


Wooden Map of San Francisco

It's a map of San Francisco...but it's wooden! This somehow increases its charm.  (NOTE: Ships directly from Etsy.)  $165.00

Craziest SF Characters Trading Cards

Schizophrenia? More like Schizo-FUN-ia, right? This whimsical deck of trading cards celebrates the kooky weirdos who aren't getting proper mental health care and who make San Francisco such a fun place!  Here's the Man Who Thinks He's Talking to God Who Harrasses People Outside Civic Center Station! Oooo, trade you for Woman Who Carries Rags Around in Plastic Bags and Paints Her Face With a Sharpie!  $75.00

Actual Muni Bus



The ultimate accessory for the tech wizard who has everything! This is an actual, full-size Muni bus that you can use to go wherever you want!  Finally, you won't risk rubbing up against a poor when your personal Muni bus rolls through the Mission and the Lower Haight picking up your coworkers en route to SOMA.  How about taking it to 49ers games at the new stadium?  Now that the team plays 40 miles away, there's no chance of city residents actually taking Muni to games!  You'll be MUNIficent in your new ride!  $165,000

San Francisco Cutty Bang Map

Find your nearest local purveyor of Cutty Bang, the true San Francisco treat! Not every corner store has airplane bottles of Seagram's, Tanqueray, and Bacardi Limon.  With this handy map, you'll be getting faded in no time, playa! $55.00

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Kansas City here I come

Hey! Prior to Monday, I had never been on a plane that was forced to land because there was a hole in it, and then later saw a drunk chinbeard slow dancing with a one-legged lesbian, but I guess if you live long enough, everything that can happen eventually does.

Let me back up.  The Wife, Baby Beyonce and me left SFO Monday morning at like 6 am to go see my extended family in Real America.  First we flew to Denver, which was uneventful except for the guy who locked himself in the forward lavatory and was violently ill the whole time and was taken off the plane by paramedics when we got there.  But hey, there but for the grace of God go I, etc., etc.

The real fun started when we left Denver.  About 45 mins into it, a panicked-looking girl was reseated into the row in front of me and spent the rest of the flight looking back nervously.  The captain came on the PA and said there was a mechanical problem and we'd be landing in Kansas City but NOTHING WAS WRONG and we weren't going to die or anything.  This was alarming because (1) we were definitely not supposed to land in Kansas City and (2) we were probably going to die.

(We found out later that the pressure seal around the exit row door partially blew out during takeoff and there was a hole in the plane the panicked-looking girl could see daylight through and so they evacuated the exit row and decided we should land and instead proceed on a plane with no holes.)

So we landed in Kansas City.  This was about 1:30 p.m.  I don't know if you're familiar with the KC airport but it is a fucking mess.  There's a security checkpoint for like every three gates, so we were trapped in this little area because we didn't have boarding passes that said Kansas City on them and so we would essentially be Ghost Passengers who couldn't get back into security and were Citizens of No Country and would probably be disappeared just to save Frontier Airlines any more hassle.  They finally decided to let us out so we could get something to eat at the Budweiser Stadium Club instead of the little snack bar by Gate 78 that only sold yogurt and power bars.

Hours passed.  People trickled back to our original gate slash waiting area.  By now it's like 6 pm and we've been promised that a replacement part was arriving on a 6 pm flight.  By this point, as happens whenever you throw a bunch of people into a crisis situation together, a sort of society had formed.  Over here, the floppy haired kid with a skateboard was bonding with a Tumblr-looking chick with glasses.  Another woman had spread out her collection of Essential Oils and was explaining their utility to a perfunctorily interested audience.  Meanwhile, a loudmouthed know it all hypochondriac lesbian who had been sitting in front of us on the plane was still braying away to anyone within earshot ("ALLERGIES? I have so many allergies I take 20 milligrams of prednisone every day."  "If I don't eat something I go into a semi-diabetic kind of shock.") I knew she was a lesbian because she had been braying about her girlfriend to the guy next to her in front of us and also because of her extremely short frosted tips hair.

Around 6:30, a late-30's early-40's chinbeard I had seen before approached the lesbian and wordlessly embraced her and started slow dancing with her.  He was very, very, very drunk.  She seemed only a little surprised by this.  "I'm so sorry about your Mom," she said.  She had to break it off when she got a phone call and he wandered away.  Amazingly, the phone call was a fake girlfriend call from the Essential Oils lady who was SITTING RIGHT THERE and, unbelievably, already had gotten the lesbian's cell number.  (Later we learned via the lesbian that Chinbeard was on his way home from his Mom's funeral and was very upset and drunk. She said he was very brave to start slow dancing with her.)

Right as some guy was in the middle of an excruciatingly boring story about how his bus broke down, we got word that Frontier was putting us up for the night in Kansas City and we would all leave tomorrow.  We were told to go get our bags and get in line to rebook for tomorrow.  This Bataan Death Line was endless and painfully slow.






Luckily I had dispatched The Wife and Baby Beyonce to get our luggage and got in line relatively early; we got to the front after about 45 minutes.  I heard it took 2 1/2 hours to rebook everyone.  I cannot fathom what took so long.  Can't you just hand everybody their same seats they had today?  Why was this harder than the math section of the SAT?

We were assigned to the Comfort Inn, which was fine, I guess.  (The guy in front of us as about to get the Comfort Inn too when another guy appeared next to him and said to the Frontier person, "No, he wants to go to the La Quinta." Then he turned to the guy. "A bunch of us are going to the bar at the La Quinta. Come on!"  I didn't know that La Quintas had bars. The guy smartly took Another Guy's suggestion and went to the La Quinta.)

That's about it.  We finally made it to our destination the next day. 

POSTSCRIPT ONE: How did I know the lesbian only had one leg?  In the shuttle to the Comfort Inn, she had to have a special seat so she could accomodate her fake leg, which I guess doesn't bend or something.

POSTSCRIPT TWO: To make up for the hassle, Frontier issued $150 vouchers to everyone who bought a ticket on the Doomed Exploding Plane Flight.  The Wife and I used our miles to book the ticket, so we got squat.  Our 8-month-old daughter now has a $150 voucher.  I wonder where she'll go!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Latest twist in neverending BART saga is the stupidest yet

Back when BART workers were on strike in July and October, it was hard to figure out who to be for.  Sure, management was trying to stiff the workers, or were the workers greedy goons who already have too much?  In the end, we all said fuck it and just hated everybody.

Now with this latest twist, there's no question who to hate.  Take it away, Chron:

Three weeks after BART's striking unions accepted a new contract, the transit agency's Board of Directors voted overwhelmingly Thursday to reject an agreement unless a provision granting six weeks of paid family medical leave was removed.
The 8-1 vote plunges BART's seemingly settled labor issues back into uncertainty with union leaders weighing options that include putting an amended contract to a vote, returning to the bargaining table, striking for a third time or seeking legal action.
The dispute revolves around Section 4.8 of the new contract, which requires the district to provide workers with "six weeks of paid time off to take care of a seriously ill child, spouse, parent or domestic partner or to bond with a new child." While the district currently provides up to 12 weeks of family medical leave, it's unpaid, with workers using vacation days, sick leave or other accrued time off.
Although Thomas Hock, a consultant who acted as the district's chief negotiator, and two other members of BART's bargaining team signed the tentative agreement on paid medical leave in July, transit district officials said it was approved by accident and they didn't discover the mistake until days after workers ratified the agreement, disputed provision and all.

Did you get that last part?  BART is now going back on the contract THEY ALREADY APPROVED and refusing to honor it unless a family leave provision is taken out.  THEY ALREADY APPROVED IT.

Let's not even get into whether or not you think employees should get paid time off for family leave (it's routine in other developed countries, but whatever).  The point here is that we're staring at the brink of yet another BART strike because BART took a look at the contract THEY APPROVED, decided they didn't like something in it, and now won't sign it.

Can you fucking imagine pulling this shit in your life?  Try buying a car and bring it back a week later and ask for a refund.  "Oh, hey, I must have overlooked the part in the contract where I have to make 60 monthly payments.  I'm sorry, I can't honor that.  Regrettable oversight and all."  See how far you get with that.

Here's the deal, BART, and it's something my Dad taught me when I was about 12: Don't sign anything until you read it over.  Don't give me this "approved by accident" horseshit.  Read the fucking contract before you sign it.

Oh, and this:

The district has received more than 700 e-mails in the past day or two, with most of them calling for the directors to reject the entire contract, said Director Gail Murray.

Oddly, 699 of them were from people with email addresses ending in "bart.gov" and one from a mental institution.  Ho ho ho.

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Heading to the traditional TK Extended Family Thanksgiving Gathering / Now Who Are You Again Extravaganza, so posting next week may be sporadic/nonexistent.  You should take some time off yourself!  Have a good weekend.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Updates


The citizens of Lafourche Parish, Louisiana, voted down a measure that would have diverted library funding to the jails.  Good job, Lafourche Parish!


The BatKid thing cost the city $105,000.  It was still worth it.



Every ad on TV is already a Christmas ad.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Was the BatKid thing a waste of time and money? No.

On Friday the city kind of came together in a way that rarely happens to watch and participate in the BatKid thing.  IMO, it was pretty awesome, both for the kid, Miles, and for the city as a whole.  For one day, at least, we could set aside Ellis Act evictions and bicycle vs. car wars and everything else and have some fun.

Not everybody, though.  A guy named Caleb Garling, who writes for the Chronicle and a few other pubs, posted these three tweets early on in the day:




These tweets made a lot of people feel things ranging from annoyance to rage. Before we move on to why that was, and why I personally completely disagree with Mr. Garling, let's unpack these a little.

Tweet Number 1. What he's saying is that the money and time being spent on BatKid should be spent on other people, not him.  (This assumes that a lot of money was spent, which is apparently incorrect.  My understanding is that everyone donated the money and/or time.)  I guess he means that the money should be spread around and it could help more people that way.  If $10,000 was spent on BatKid, that $10,000, I guess, could be split up and help a larger number of people.  But that's true with everything!  If you extend Caleb's point to its logical extreme, we would have to eliminate the Make A Wish foundation, since that money could ALWAYS be split up and spent on more people.  I don't like that idea.  Maybe Caleb does.

You could apply Caleb's point in all kinds of contexts.  Even journalism.  Why are you writing about a Twitter parody account, Caleb Garling, when there are wars and misery you could be focusing on?  WHY ARE YOU SQUANDERING YOUR JOURNALISTIC TIME, CALEB?

My reaction to this tweet - and probably a lot of other people's - was this: Can't we ever just do one nice thing for someone, even if it costs money that could be better spent?  Can't we just have some fun without some killjoy shitting all over it?

Tweet Number 2. I don't think the police and fire departments were "sidelined" in any meaningful way.  I didn't hear about a surge in crime on Friday or any houses burning down because no one could respond.  In fact, a review of Saturday's SFGate showed no stories about anyone getting murdered, and they usually report murders pretty comprehensively.  So this tweet is based on an erroneous premise.

Also, sure, there is disease and drug abuse, but I wouldn't necessarily describe the city as "ravaged" and anyway, how would cancelling the BatKid event in any way ameliorate those problems?

Tweet Number 3. I'm not sure what an "ostentatious display of myopia" means, exactly.  That the BatKid thing is keeping us from seeing the city's real problems?  Give me a break, Caleb.  We spend the other 364 days CONSTANTLY talking about the city's problems.  Some days it feels alike it's ALL we talk about.  Would cancelling the BatKid thing do ANYTHING, anything at all, to solve a single problem?  Can you explain, specifically, the mechanism for that?

After getting ROASTED on Twitter (and, as much as I disagree with him, I don't think the ad hominem attacks were that cool of an idea), he posted an explanation, of sorts.  Not an apology!  An explanation.  Here's some of it:

A five year old with leukemia absolutely deserves every bit of love possible. But this is a question of proportionality. “So what?” people say. “It’s just one day.” Well, if it’s just one day why not take all the police, fire department, public workers and onlookers that showed up for BatKid to San Francisco hospitals and tell ALL the kids in the cancer ward that they’re superheros.
(Nevermind the parents that have to explain to their kids fighting cancer why they can’t be Batman today.)

Well, I'm pretty sure that people make special visits to San Francisco hospitals to visit kids with cancer on a pretty regular basis!  Here's the 49ers visiting UCSF. Here's sailors and Marines visiting kids in General. These stories are not hard to find.  In fact, the day after the BatKid thing, UCSF hosted a head-shaving event that raised $22,000.  So it's not like we ignore people with cancer, except BatKid.

And also, Caleb, not every kid fighting cancer WANTS to be Batman.  I'm pretty sure the Make A Wish foundation grants all kinds of wishes, not just this kind.

He continued:

And the point I was making in those tweets should not need explaining. San Francisco has a terrible layer of poverty and sickness — from both drugs and disease — which we tuck in alleys, vacant storefronts and the area between Geary, Market and Van Ness. It’s almost trite to bring it up anymore and that’s sad. But it ain’t going away.

Absolutely true! It ain't going away.  Whether the BatKid thing happened or not.  THAT'S THE POINT.  If the BatKid thing never happened, everything else would be EXACTLY THE SAME.

But we did do it.  And you know what?  It made a lot of people, not just Miles, really happy.  What price do you put on that?  Maybe it resulted in more people volunteering or making donations to any number of charities. I hope so.  Wouldn't that be a good thing?

(Here's one tangible result: sales of BatKid t-shirts have so far raised $10,000 for the Make A Wish foundation.)

I guess we could just NOT have done it.  You wouldn't have had anything to complain about then.  But I think it did a lot more good than bad.

I suspect we're never going to agree on this, Caleb, and that's fine.  I share your concern about the problems facing the city.  But let me suggest this: What happened on Friday was worth it, both for Miles and for the city as a whole.

(Eric Mar also posted something similar and got similarly shit on but this is already too long and what's the point anyway.)

Friday, November 15, 2013

I can't even with this. What the fuck, Louisiana?

Via Carolyn Kellogg comes this brain-injuring LA Times article:

Official wants to de-fund library, users should 'go back to Mexico'

Library funding in Lafourche Parish, Louisiana, may be diverted to a new jail thanks to a legislator who doesn't approve of the library's programs. Jail proponent and chair of the Lafourche Parish Council Lindel Toups supports a ballot measure that would take funding away from libraries.
“They’re teaching Mexicans how to speak English,” Toups told the local Tri-Parish Times, referencing Biblioteca Hispana, a Spanish-language section of one of the nine branch libraries. “Let that son of a bitch go back to Mexico. There’s just so many things they’re doing that I don’t agree with. ... Them junkies and hippies and food stamps [recipients] and all, they use the library to look at drugs and food stamps [on the Internet]. I see them do it.”

"They use the libraries to look at drugs and food stamps on the Internet"! MEMO TO LINDEL TOUPS: LOOKING AT DRUGS ON THE INTERNET DOES NOT GET YOU DRUGS.  If only.


BUT WAIT!  What does Library System Director Laura Sanders have to say about all this?

"The library is not saying we don't need a jail," Sanders says. Originally constructed in 1968 and expanded in 1977, the jail is in poor condition and suffers overcrowding.
She noted that for Toups, the issue of the jail's condition is a personal one. "He does have family members that are incarcerated," she says.
According to Houma Today, Toups' son and grandson were arrested in 2009 and charged with possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.
BOOM ROASTED. Hahahaha, TAKE THAT, LINDEL.  "He does have family members that are incarcerated."  Laura Sanders, you are my new hero.

Anyway, the election is Saturday, for some reason.  Aren't elections always on Tuesday?  Not that having an election on Saturday is a terrible idea, it's just weird.  Remind me to check back and see if Lafourche Parish defunded its library system.  Fucking hell.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Here are the songs I played on the radio today

I was on BFF.fm as Burritojustice's guest from 1 to 2 today.  Did you hear it?  I thought it went just fine.  He told me to post a list of the songs I played.  Here you go:

1. The Three O'Clock - Jet Fighter

2. Chuck Prophet - I Felt Like Jesus

3. Foxygen - No Destruction

4. Atlas Sound - Mona Lisa

5. John K. Samson - When I Write My Master's Thesis

I had a lot of other great songs that you didn't get to hear.

Anyway, it was a lot of fun!  I felt like I was talking too fast, probably, but I tend to do that in everyday life.  I also hope it's OK to use swears on Internet radio.

I'd do it again.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Stick City? Pick City? Something like that.

Before it became a series of hugely popular books and a TV show on PBS, Armistead Maupin's "Tales of the City" started life as a serial in the Chronicle in the 70's and early 80's.  Apparently hoping to recapture some of that excitement, the Chronicle on Sunday launched a new serial called "Click City."

It's OK, I guess.  It's a fairly transparent attempt to capture the tech zeitgeist of the city (not, so far, the Zeitgeist of the city, though), but it comes across as being written by someone who's read about tech and the kind of people that work in tech without actually knowing or talking to any.  Everybody and everything seems like a broadly drawn caricature.  Oh look, here's the "severe-looking barista" and the adorably quirky programmers.  Here's the cafe on Valencia, except "no one was eating or talking to anyone else."  It's all just too much of a piece, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, haven't we covered the tech-is-the-new-gold-rush ground more than enough?  Isn't there a new article every week? At this point, I'm sick of it.

I'd be down for a new serial, though!  Just not principally about Computers and The People Who Work On Them.  How about these:

Mick City: The story of San Francisco's Irish gang underground, told by one of the newest members.



Flick City: The lives and loves of an extended group of friends who work at one of the last neighborhood theaters.

Trick City: You'd be surprised how competitive - even cutthroat - the world of amateur magicians working the party circuit can be.  [No good?  How about the story of a hapless pimp who struggles to control his band of wisecracking hookers? Same title.]

Hick City: We follow 23-year-old Junior Huddleston, a recent arrival from rural Arkansas, as he tries to navigate life in San Francisco.

Rick City: It's about a guy named Rick.

Chick City: About a group of four female friends and their lives and adventures in the city, written by a guy but I've totally hung around with enough women to know what they're like so don't sweat it.

Tick City: Told from the POV of a Rocky Mountain Wood Tick who arrives in the city on the back of a dog returning from a vacation.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Why we love Love/Hate

Remember when we were talking about what show we could watch next now that Breaking Bad is over? Well, I hope you've got a Netflix account and no plans this weekend, because once I tell you about this show you're going to need plenty of free time.

It's called "Love/Hate" and originally aired on Ireland's RTE.  Here's a trailer:


As one can tell, it's basically the story of, as the trailer puts it, a "drugs gang."  But that's like saying Mad Men is the story of an advertising agency.  It's also about the complicated personal lives of the various people involved.  It's completely compelling and addictive.

I do have one word of advice for My Fellow Americans: use the Netflix feature to TURN ON CLOSED CAPTIONING.  As you may or may not know, The Wife is from Ireland originally and unsurprisingly has no problem following what's going on but until we turned on the captions I had to pause it every few minutes and ask for a recap.  For whatever reason, I think Irish accents - and particularly the kind of accent the people in this show have - are far more difficult for Americans than your off-the-shelf Downton Abbey British.

[DIGRESSION ONE: The last time we were in Ireland, I noticed that I could understand the accent of one guy in particular better than anyone else we were hanging around with.  Turns out this guy was from Northern Ireland, and all the other Irish had a hard time understanding him. Language!]

Like any good drugs gang show, L/H is spectacularly violent, just as a heads-up.  People are constantly getting shot and beaten up and any other band thing you can think of that people can do to each other.

[DIGRESSION TWO: We haven't gotten to Season 4 yet, but a cat gets shot in one of the episodes.  This cat shooting was apparently so upsetting to the Irish populace that the cat had to go on the Late Late Show so everybody could see that the cat - Cleo, as it turns out - was OK.  Here's a clip:]


I'm trying to figure out what makes it so addictive.  Probably a lot of the same things that made Breaking Bad the kind of show you just wanted to binge on.  The characters are really well-drawn and fleshed out.  They seem like real people and not just "types."  And it's expertly plotted.  That's really the key, isn't it?  You just want to know what happens next.

The first three seasons are on Netflix.  If they don't get season 4 up soon I guess we'll be ordering DVDs from Ireland or something.  Anyway, do check it out.  We need someone else to talk to about it.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Now that it's all over, here are a few pointless thoughts about the whole 8 Washington thing

The usual disclaimers, I'm hopelessly ill-informed, don't know all the background, etc., &c.

In case you're just joining us, 8 Washington was a waterfront condo project along the Embarcadero in San Francisco.  There are height limits controlling how tall buildings along the Embarcadero can be, because it's on the waterfront, and so the developers had to put a variance to these limits on the ballot.

I THINK.  I'm not 100% sure but I think that's what happened.

I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say the whole thing seemed shady.  The public faces of the pro-Prop B & C forces were Ed Lee and Gavin Newsom, who I think it's safe to say are both loathed by the city's progressives and also are widely believed to be crooked as hell.  So the Bay Guardian dutifully came out against it.

But wait!  There's another line of thought on this.


As it turns out, some of the opposition to this whole thing was funded by Boston Properties, which owns 4 Embarcadero Center, whose views would be blocked by the new thing. I guess those are the "rich people" Olu means.

So great.  It's like the baseball strike all over again.  Who are you for, the millionaires or billionaires?

I wasn't really convinced one way or another.  In the end, I ended up voting "no" on it, but for my usual wacko reason, which is this: I DON'T THINK THE CITIZENRY SHOULD BE VOTING ON ROUTINE CITY PLANNING DECISIONS.

We hire people with advanced degrees in City Planning and pay them what I assume is a lot of money to figure this shit out!  Don't put it on me.  If we put the citizenry in charge of city planning, every block is going to have a Giants Dugout Store, a Gold Dust Lounge, and a Chuck E Cheese.  Golden Gate Park will be replaced by a huge Go Kart track, and every single store in the Mission will be required to stay exactly the same forever.

My idea is this: We have a city planning system in place.  If the SYSTEM is broken, let's fix that, instead of voting on fucking INDIVIDUAL PROJECTS one at a time.  I suggest, and not from a place of snobbiness, that ordinary citizens do not have the information necessary to decide whether or not most building projects should be built.  People go to school for years ans years to figure that out.  So let's let the system work.  If we don't like the outcome, change the system.  But Christ, let's don't start planning our city by voting on each building.

In the end, it lost.  Now the developers can still build something there, just not as tall.  Yay?

Friday, November 1, 2013

Either Glenn Dickey or me is confused about hydrology

"Me is confused"? What am I doing? Anyway.

Examiner scribe Glenn Dickey does not like the idea of the new waterfront Warriors arena planned for Piers 30-32.  And he has some reasons why.  He hates progress, basketball, and fun!  No, not really.  Oddly, he's concerned the new arena will FLOOD THE CITY, literally:

I believe this is a bad idea for several reasons. One is that a huge amount of concrete will have to be poured into San Francisco Bay to provide support, raising the water level for a city that is already threatened by the potential of rising water with climate change. 

Wait a minute. Maybe I'm reading this wrong, but is he saying that pouring a lot of concrete into the bay will make the water level around San Francisco go up?  I THINK THAT'S WHAT HE'S SAYING.  Based on my very limited knowledge of hydrology, I don't think that's how it works.  Let's look at a diagram.


OK, so as I understand it, even if you pour a shitload of concrete in at Piers 30-32, I'm almost 100% sure that's not going to flood the Financial District, because all the water that the concrete displaces is just going to flow out underneath the Golden Gate Bridge into the Pacific Ocean, right?  I mean, every time one of those huge container ships sails by, do you notice water sloshing up over the Embarcadero?  What am I missing here?

That's all I've got.  Have a great weekend.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Do you want to know why non-Bostonians hate Boston sports? This is why.

Yay, Boston won the World Series! Good for you, Red Sox.  Bad for the rest of us.  Because we now have to read insufferable articles like this, by terrible baseball "writer" Jayson Stark.  Take it away, Jayson:

BOSTON -- Every once in a while, an evening comes along in your lifetime where sports aren't just sports.
What we witnessed Wednesday night at Fenway Park, where a century-old ballpark throbbed with passion and joy, was one of those nights. 
To call this a mere sporting event doesn't do it justice. To call this just a baseball game would not be adequate.
Even to describe this as the night the Red Sox won the World Series doesn't really capture it. 
Not on an evening when 38,447 people charged through the gates of Fenway and became part of what was very likely the most momentous sporting event to take place in the city of Boston in their time on this earth.
Did they ever think they would live to see this? Did they ever think they would live to experience this?
Holy fuck, did Jesus descend from heaven and go 3 for 4 with a dinger against Cards pitching and I fucking missed it? That must have been that brilliant shaft of light in the 1st inning! No? Oh, he's just talking about the Red Sox winning the World Series? LIKE THEY DID IN 2004 AND 2007?

Where do we start? With the smoke and the sadness of Patriots Day and the Boston Marathon?
With the collapse of 2011 and the disaster of 2012, which threatened to unravel a seemingly unbreakable bond between this team and the people who have spent their lives caring about the Red Sox way more than human beings should ever allow themselves to care about any little old sports franchise?
Or how about with 1918 -- and 95 frigging years of waiting? Uh, 95 years is kind of a long time, you know. Over these past 95 years, an incredible 1,166 players got at least one plate appearance for the Red Sox -- and never did this.
An astounding 701 pitchers walked to the mound wearing a Red Sox uniform -- and never did this.
Which serves as an excellent reminder that 1918 wasn't exactly last week, either.
Oh my fucking God.  My head. ATTENTION, JAYSON STARK: I need you to sit down, because I have some pretty amazing news.  In fact, this is going to blow your fucking mind.  THE RED SOX WON THE WORLD SERIES IN 2004 AND 2007!  Man, is that fucked up? You didn't know that, right?

I get it. I know he's talking about winning the last game in Boston.  Which, fine, fair enough.  But for Chrissakes, don't act like this is the Greatest Event in Human History when the Red Sox REGULARLY WIN THE WORLD SERIES.

It goes on and on and on and on this same vein - 56 unbearable paragraphs - including a drooling tribute to David Ortiz, who is on so much Human Growth Hormone that his head is roughly the size and shape of a basketball, but unlike Jayson Stark "weep[ing] for what [Alex Rodriguez] has done to the sport", it's all cool because David Ortiz plays for this scrappy band of brothers that just happens to have the 4th highest payroll in baseball.

Let us put ourselves out of misery:

This was a life experience for millions of people. And that's not something you can say on the final night of every World Series.
Actually, I think you can say EXACTLY that about EVERY final night of EVERY World Series.  Unless Kansas City ever wins it.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Dulera TV commercial set in SF riddled with factual errors

DULERA is probably some kind of medication; I'm not sure, because the ad is SO FULL OF FACTUAL PROBLEMS that it made it impossible to focus on whatever kind of snake oil they're selling.

First problem: the spot is officially called "Amy's World," which is SUPER CREEPY and sounds like it will be set in the attic where Amy has been imprisoned for her entire adult life.  But no, it's mostly set in San Francisco.



When the ad begins, we see a young woman who we must assume is the "Amy" of the ad's title.  She is holding a Golden Gate Bridge snow globe and standing in front of the Golden Gate Bridge.  Thanks to DULERA, she is able to realize her dream of coming to San Francisco.  Maybe DULERA is a pill that makes air travel more affordable.

We see Amy and her male companion at a souvenir stand at around what is probably Fort Point.


SECOND PROBLEM: To my knowledge, THERE IS NO SUCH SOUVENIR STAND AT THAT LOCATION.  Viewers who see Amy's World and expect to purchase souvenirs where Amy did will be BADLY MISLED.

The action the shifts to YET ANOTHER SOUVENIR STAND.  It appears to be somewhere around the Wharf, based on Coit Tower in the background.  Amy and her unnamed male companion seem to be hell-bent on hitting up every souvenir stand they can find.  Here, Unnamed Male Companion, bored of photographing Amy, begins to PHOTOGRAPH THE SOUVENIRS.


Jesus Christ, dude.  It's just a pile of stuffed blue crabs.  Turn the camera around and take a picture of fucking COIT TOWER.  It's right behind you!

Next, we're on to the cable cars, obvi.


Third problem: WHERE THE FUCK IS EVERYBODY?  Is this the post-apocalyptic San Francisco?  If so, why does Amy want to be there?  (It's certainly not post-Rapture San Francisco, because everybody would just be where they normally are.)

After a brief sojourn to Lombard Street and Chinatown, we see Amy and UMC.....IN A CONVERTIBLE.


Are you shitting me, Dulera?  IT'S TOO COLD TO RIDE IN A CONVERTIBLE.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I went to see Gravity and have a few thoughts about it

THERE ARE SHITLOADS OF SPOILERS IN THE FOLLOWING. IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN IT CARE ABOUT MOVIES GETTING SPOILED, STOP NOW.  DO NOT READ FURTHER.

I mean, duh.  Anyway, I went to the 3-D IMAX showing of "Gravity" at the AMC 14 Van Ness and since it's getting all kinds of press (97% on Rotten Tomatoes! Oscar talk!) I naturally assumed you'd be interested in my pointless, disgruntled opinion.

It's really impressive visually, I'll give it that!  The 3-D looks great and the visuals are stunning.  OK.

The dialogue is laughably, screamingly bad.  In the first part of the movie, George Clooney and Sandra Bullock trade repartee that wouldn't have ever made the cut at any mid-range ABC sitcom.  And the whole wisecracking thing just keeps reminding you IT'S GEORGE CLOONEY IN A SPACESUIT!  Especially when he makes repeated cracks about how attractive he is and how attracted to him she should be.  There is not one sentence that George Clooney says that sounds anything remotely like how you would expect an astronaut in space to sound.  They do all sound, however, like George Clooney on his pool deck in Malibu.  A LOT.  In fact, I wouldn't mind seeing an hour and a half of George Clooney at a party next to his pool in Malibu.

Whatever they're saying right now, I guarantee you it's cringe-inducing.
There's an Indian-American character who might as well be wearing an "I'M SO DEAD" sign on his back.  In fact, we don't see his face until it's been blown apart and hollowed out by space or whatever.

(Or maybe we do - I had to leave in the very early going for like 5 mins to take a call from our babysitter, i.e., my sister, because our child was freaking out about something.  She was fine, as it turns out.)

The plot itself, such as there is one, is mostly Sandra Bullock breathing very rapidly and trying to get from one ruined spaceship to another, interspersed with shots of Sandra Bullock in boy shorts and a t-shirt.  There are lots of lingering shots of Sandra Bullock's extremely toned legs and ass weightlessly sliding through doorways in space stations.  It's like a high-concept Hanes ad sometimes.

It's admirable that the filmmakers chose to have a woman as the hero and main character, and in fact, much of the film is Sandra Bullock alone.  BUT when she's about to give up and die, she is saved and prodded on to live by......THE WISECRACKING GHOST OF GEORGE CLOONEY.  FUCK, can't she just win on her own, without help from Alpha Male?

Then she makes it back to Earth and her space capsule crashes into some lake somewhere and she wriggles out of her space suit - hello boy shorts again! - and at this point, I was fully expecting a crocodile to menace her and her having to fight it off because the entire movie is her going from one life-threatening crisis to another.  So she swims up to the shore and to the final long, loving shots of her buttocks.

(Also, did I miss the explanation for this or where were all the Chinese on the Chinese space station?  Did they all just bounce?  Because they left the place a total mess.)

I know this sounds like a whiny rant, and I do want to say the film is worth going to see for the visuals alone. It certainly was tense and suspenseful, and that's fun in and of itself. But when something starts to get near-universal adulation, BE WARY.  I know I am.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The San Francisco Haunted House will terrify you!


You will enter through the TUNNEL OF TECH WORKERS!!!!  These technological terrors will DISRUPT your heart and bore you STOOOOOOOOPID with their mindless buzzwords and their pointless apps!  Don't get run over by the GHOSTLY GOOGLE BUS!!!

Next you'll find the HALL OF WHOLE FOODS!!!  You'll panic as the ZOMBIE CLERKS clean out your wallet!!!!  Flee in terror from the YOGA MOMS blocking the aisle as they make GHASTLY GAB on their CELL PHONES OF DEATH!  What's this?  A $6 tomato? AIEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!

You'll be reeling as you fall into HIPSTER HORROR!  Oh, you're still listening to MGMT?  How MAAAAAAAAIIIINNSTREEEEEAAAMMM!!!!  Yes, these dead-eyed, tattoo-covered ghouls will judge you TO DEATH!!!  Maybe a refreshing cup of cofee would help?  LOOOOOOOOK AT THAT LINE!!! AND YOU'RE ORDERING IT ALL WRONG!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Don't even think about taking mass transit out of this hellhole, though!  You've stumbled into MUNI MADNESS!!!!  When's the next train?  NEVER!!!!!  Watch as these BEASTLY BUSSES crush your dreams, along with any plans you had to get anywhere on time!!!  Step down......TO HELL!!!!!!!


You'll back away reeling until you realize you've entered the BRO-DOWN!!!!  "Mommy, why is that man wearing flip flops, a tank top, and a visor when it's 50 degrees out?"  "Becuase his SOUL IS ALREADY DEAD, honey!!!" MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Immediately next is the REPUBLICAN RUMPUS, one of our most TERRIFYING ROOMS!!  Watch as these gun-toting monsters try to SLASH CORPORATE TAXES TO DEATH and BURN YOUR PORNOGRAPHY!!!!!  Get out before you get stuck with a PRO-LIFE PIN!!!!!!

Just when you think you can't take any more, you've arrived at ELLIS ACT ISLAND!!!!!  As soon as you start to get comfortable and think the terror is over, LOOK OUT!!!  Two yuppies with Facebook money will FORCE YOU TO LEAVE!! GET OUT!!!!!!!!  Hope you can find your way to $2500 STUDIO SALON, or else you'll be sent to OAK-LAND!!!!!!  NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

OAK-LAND is just actually the city of Oakland.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

It Was 20 Years Ago Today: Music Edition

UPDATE: Hey, did you come here via a link on Facebook? If so, whose Facebook page? I can't tell and it's driving me crazy. Can you leave a comment or email me and let me know? Email address on right. Kthxbai. 

Remember our new feature, where we look at the Chronicle from 20 years ago on this day and see what we can see?  It's back.  Today, we will be focusing on music, because I found a bunch of music ads and they are pretty great.

(If we were playing It Was 24 Years Ago Today, today would be VERY EXCITING.  Or tomorrow, I guess, since the Very Exciting Thing didn't happen until 5 pm.)

Let's see who was playing at Slim's that week.



 Wow, in one 3-day period, you could have seen the Jesus Lizard, the Catherine Wheel (with the Connells?  What an odd bill.  Whatever.) and Redd Kross.  And I love No Doubt opening up for the Dance Hall Crashers on the 21st.  Those two bands were headed in different directions, no doubt.  SEE WHAT I DID THERE.  Also, Widespread Panic, ugh.

Personally, I am PAINED that I didn't go to the Uncle Tupelo/Giant Sand show on November 11.

Moving on, how about the Warfield?


SKAVOOVEE '93!!!!!  With the Special Beat, Skatalites, the Selecter, and the Toasters.  I bet that was fun.  Skavoovee.  Also, Green Day opening up for Bad Religion!  And best of all, Radiohead opening for Belly!  What a world.


You guys, there used to be a bar called The Boathouse on the shores of beautiful Lake Merced.  I went there once, I don't remember why.  Probably not to see California Hardbodies Oil Wrestling or the Black Hole Gang.  Over at Bottom of the Hill, they had Love Battery and Heavy Into Jeff.  Does anyone remember Tarr & Feathers at 2140 Union Street?  I have no memory of its existence, except from seeing it in ads like this.  There's something called The Brixton there now.  I didn't know that existed either, until I Googled the address this very second.  I guess I need to get out more.

Guess what?  The Independent used to be called The Kennel Club back in the day.  And by "the day," clearly I mean "October 17, 1993."


Lotta 90's in that listing.  Voivod, Jesus Lizard again, with Cop Shoot Cop, and MCM & the Monster.  Oh look, it's Yo La Tengo on November 3!


You know I wouldn't wrap this without some Real Estate Pr0n.  Wanna get a place in Noe Valley?  How about this one:

$299,000 364 28th St. Sun 1-4 2nd Open! 3 sty VU cottage. 2 BR 2 BA hot tub, pkg.

That's right.  A 3-story home in Noe Valley for under $300K.  Current Zillow estimate: $1,260,000.  Jesus APR Christ.