Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Our new home with the Weather Underground Thermometer

The first rule of blogging is No One Wants to Hear About Your Cats.  No, I'm shitting you, the first rule of blogging is When in Doubt, Talk About the Weather.  People love to hear about weather.

This July sure has been shitty here in our beloved SF!  Local meteorologist Steve Paulson drops a dime on how crappy July was:

Ack, that's terrible, even by July in San Francisco standards.  But hold the phone.  Weather Underground has a better take on it.

What the fuck? Not only does Weather Underground have a balmy FIFTEEN DAYS at 70 or over in July, it even has an equatorial 78 FUCKING DEGREES on Monday the 22nd.

There is only one sensible solution.  We must find the location of Weather Underground's thermometer and ALL MOVE TO THERE.  We'll emerge from the Fog Wall blinking like moles coming out of a hole, looking up at the bright sun.  We'll find the Weather Underground Thermometer sitting at an open-air tiki bar, enjoying a mai tai.  "Come on in, guys!," Weather Underground Thermometer would say.  "This is the real California, not that windswept, fogged-over snowhole you guys live in.  Maybe a dip in the pool later?"  And we'll all get apartments in the Melrose Place building around the Weather Underground Thermometer's pool and we'll only leave when we need to make a run to Costco for more Kim Crawford sauvignon blanc.  If there have been 15 days over 70 at Weather Underground Thermometer's place in July, imagine how nice it's going to be in August!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Bachelorette: There is an empty can of mousse in my heart now

The Final 3 this year is in Antigua. We will begin with a painfully long recap clip package.  It's eerie foreshadowing, because this whole show is going to be painful and long, but hey, it's 20 minutes to get some drinks/Xanax/uncut heroin into you.

First up is Drew.  Poor Drew has zero chance, but God bless him, he keeps trying.  Our Journey today takes us from "Betty's Hope" to "Shirley Heights" and is everything in Antigua named after a truck stop waitress?  Oh, look, here in Shirley Heights the producers have staged a "party" for them with a couple of locals listlessly dancing to canned steel drum music and drinking whatever cheap booze ABC ponied up for. Not even dollar rum can hide the sadness in their eyes.  D & D wander away from this depressing gathering and Drew hopes to find a "secret garden" which is what a lot of straight guys are interested in because Drew is very straight.  He is a heterosexual man.  "I just want to fall more and more in love with her," he says.  That's what Exodus recommends!  Keep at it, Drew.

Outdoor dinner gets rained out but Des "could have dinner anywhere."  All she needs is a dumpster and a piece of plastic sheeting!  Because she's poor.  That was a poors joke.  Anyway, straight to the Fantasy Suite!  Des settles in for some Girl Talk about how her ex couldn't communicate or tell her he loves her and she needs someone who can communicate.  "I know it, girl," Drew says, turning on Real Housewives.  "Men are THE WORST."

Wait, we're in Idaho?  What happened?  Oh, I guess Brooks has to clear things with the Sister Wives before he makes it official.  Who are these people?  Brooks has some kind of backup family we didn't meet on the hometowns.  I think the gist of the whole thing is that Backup Family doesn't think he should propose if he has doubts.  Hm, sensible enough, but hardly a ticket to Z-list celeb status.  Anyway, there's a lot  more feeling feeling feelings talk but I kind of tuned it out because I'm an emotional husk and it makes me uncomfortable.  Ask your father.

OK, back to Antigua and here's Chris and there's a helicopter ride - Chris is "a little scared of heights," natch - off to the Deserted Island Beach Picnic.  POETRY THREAT LEVEL ORANGE.  Blah blah making out boring whatever.  Outdoor dinner.  Chris has discovered a job opportunity in Seattle and wants to move there and get a "cute little house."  D says she's fine with that and WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT NOISE IN THE BACKGROUND?  Is that some kind of local Antigua Monster Cricket?  It sounds like frog croaking put through a flanger or something.  It's horrible make it stop.  OK so anyway, Fantasy Suite, you know what's coming.  What we can only hope is the penultimate TERRIBLE FUCKING POEM.  This one doesn't even rhyme, honestly, he's kind of phoning it in now, it's not good, even by Terrible Poetry standards.  It's more just like a Relationship Word Salad or the kind of thing a cutter might leave on a LiveJournal.  Ugh, SHUT UP already.

Brooks Time!  Des is excited and dons what appears to be a piece of shredded sheer curtain that a child has tie-dyed, but first it's time for Brooks to have a chat with Chris Harrison, who is visibly bored and only halfway paying attention as Brooks says, in a roundabout way, that maybe D isn't the One for him and no, he's not afraid to commit just NOT WITH HER.  Well, that's good to know.

Here he goes to dump her.  She's wearing her primitive mullet shirt garment and babbling about how she's in love with him.  Then they sit down for The Talk and it's just as boring and uncomfortable as you might imagine watching someone get dumped on TV might be.  He's all "I really WANT to be madly in love with you" and that's usually not followed by "And I am!  Let's get cronuts!"  She starts crying away and he should just be like FINE, I'LL MARRY YOU, JUST PLEASE STOP CRYING.  Watching a chick cry is just the worst.

Brooks (L) learns that his mousse will no longer be available in the 55-gallon drum size, while Desiree (R) cries after being unable to complete the TV Guide crossword.

This goes on for a LONG LONG time with the crying and the "Sorry" and the "This sucks" and half the time you can't understand what the fuck they're saying because Brooks is a huge mumbler to start with and it's windy and so we're in the shitty position of watching a chick get dumped without even being able to ENJOY IT, I mean FUCK, ABC, the NSA can read my stupid emails about trading Pablo Sandoval but you can't even mic a breakup.

I think it ends up with D saying she doesn't love the other 2 guys and it's over.  I DON'T THINK SO BABE THERE'S ONE MORE SHOW.

Let me just put this out there: I am saying right now there is a non-zero chance that Brooks rides back in at some point next week and saves the day.  We'll see, I guess.

Friday, July 26, 2013

I'm all for new housing BUT

From our friends at Curbed comes this list of 40 (!) New Developments underway in SF.  Which is great, I think; God knows this city needs more housing.  I'm with Farhad Manjoo on this one.  Ugh, I linked to PandoDaily.  I feel dirty.

[DIGRESSION: Speaking of San Francisco and the number 40, did you guys see "40 Days and 40 Nights"?  It was set, ostensibly, in San Francisco, but that fake San Francisco where everybody has a huge apartment and the weather is good. Also, what a terrible movie.  It came out in like 2002 and the main characters worked at a dot com, like there were even any dot coms left in 2002.  But it seems to have destroyed Josh Hartnett's career, so we can be thankful for that.  [[DIGRESSION WITHIN A DIGRESSION: In 2001 I lived in North Beach.  There was a restaurant called "Glow" on the corner of Broadway and Kearny that was a sad relic of the Go Go Dot Com Era and hadn't yet realized that it was all over and you couldn't charge $27 for roast chicken any more.  We used to hit the bar there for happy hour because they had some insane specials to try and get people in.  Since it was always dead because the Crash had happened, we would hang out and talk to the staff, including the hostess, a super hot girl in her 20's whose prior job, I AM NOT JOKING, was the Vice President of some dot com.  Hahahahahaha. It closed in July 2001.  END DIGRESSION WITHIN DIGRESSION.]] END DIGRESSION.]

So one of the developments listed is something called AVA 55 Ninth.  Hoo boy.  Putting a bunch of coders onto that block of Ninth Street is going to be a hoot.  Wait til they try to organize Settlers of Catan Night at Club 93.  SOMEBODY GONNA GET CUT.

Look at the front page of their website:

I don't know what "Our world in our apartment only starts" means, but it sounds deep.  Also, why is this guy holding his hands over his laptop like he's getting X-rayed?  Anyway.

Here's the Chill Lounge:

Ugh.  I can already smell the douche in here.  Can't you be annoying in your own apartment?  Why do we have to a have a Chill Lounge to be annoying in?  Why is there an old-timey refrigerator in the Chill Lounge?  Are there going to be little doggie bags from State Bird Provisions with "Jason" written on the side in the Chill Lounge Fridge? 

There's also a "The Loft," where you can "lounge on the comfy seating, spread out on communal tables, tap into the free WiFi, groove to the music."  Oh good, now my apartment building has a space where a bunch of deadbeats who are too cheap to pay for Internet can drape themselves all over the communal tables and listen to Daft Punk remixes while not working.

No prices listed on the site yet.  I bet it's going to be expensive.  Anyway, good on AVA 55 Ninth for building more housing, but can't we just have a normal building?  That might even make it cheaper.  Just brainstorming here. Go have a good weekend.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


By now, we've all played GeoGuessr, the insanely fun game that uses Google Street View to plop you down at some random place on the globe and then challenges you to figure out where you are.  Hey, look, the billboards are in Portuguese, but it looks like crushing poverty, so must be Brazil!  That hotel sign looks like German so it must be.....Germany.  That kind of thing.

Well, that's fun and all, but it lacked one component that I find essential: ALCOHOL.  And thus BarGuessr was born.  The idea is simple: below you will find Google Street View shots of 6 bars in the world (OK, in the US or Europe).  You simply figure out where they are.  You can't go in and click around like in GeoGuessr, so it's harder, but the highly well-traveled and well-lubricated readership of this blog should have no problem.  Plus I'll give you clues.  One other thing: I have been to every single bar pictured below.

[1] First up we have bar that's actually in a hotel, so here's the front of the hotel. I saw Uma Thurman here once.

[2] The mural here apparently changes,because it was a whale when we were there. I like how the Google Street View face-obscuring algorithm nailed the chick painted in the mural.

[3] This place has a nice beer selection and also the gimmick that they let you send a free postcard anywhere in the country. Or at least they used to.

[4] This depressing little dive sometimes features live music and always features lonely alcoholics.

[5] This one is basically impossible.  It's not in the US, and yes, that is a real castle in the background.

[6] WHEW, back to our country.  This is the easiest one; the goddam name is on the awning.  The more game among you will try to figure it out without immediately resorting to Google.

[7] Finally, this is an iconic rock club.  Note the tour bus outside.

That's it!  Good luck.  Leave answers in the comments.  Winner gets something, I don't know what.  I'll title a blog post after you and write about the topic of your choice.  If you were inside any of these bars with me, you are not eligible to win.  Take it up with God; life is unfair.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

We Are the Marginalized

From the SF Examiner, 7/16/13, "Bike parking could get boost as San Francisco looks to increase two-wheeled trips":

Of the 2 million daily trips taken in The City — which includes all modes of transportation — 75,000 occur via bike. Yet The City only boasts 3,000 public-use sidewalk parking racks, planner Joshua Switzky said in a recent presentation about the proposed new rules.

The lack of bike parking discourages bike use, treats cyclists with less dignity and can even lead to bad behavior, he said.

"The extent to which we treat bike facilities as an afterthought in building design and require cyclists to find marginalized ways to store their bikes ... is often reflected back in the way cyclists view their status in society and act in marginal ways and just overall relegates cycling to a less dignified and reasonable form of transportation," Switzky said.

TUESDAY.  I biked to Macy's.  I asked at the front door if they had valet bike parking.  They didn't.  I found a piece of concrete on the ground and threw it through their window.  FUCK YOUR OPPRESSION, FASCISTS, I yelled, biking away.

THURSDAY. I had to lock my bike to a bike rack on the sidewalk outside Starbucks.  It made me feel marginalized.  So I found a piece of concrete and threw it through the Starbucks window.  I AM THE UNDERCLASS, I yelled, biking away.

SATURDAY.  I looked around for bike parking at the beach but I couldn't find any.  So I unclipped my bear spray from my utility belt and sprayed a beachgoer in the face.  As she cried and cried, I explained that I was acting in a marginal way and that she shouldn't take it personally.

SUNDAY.  At Group, Katie is crying. "I parked my bike on the street again.  Like an animal.  No, worse than an animal.  I bet if squirrels had bikes, they would have tiny little secure enclosed garages.  Inside tree trunks.  With a little mole attendant.  But we have to park our bikes on the street."

"What do you feel, Katie?" asked Dr. Bonnie.

"SHAME," said Katie.  "SHAME."

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Bachelorette: We're all in "kind of a dark place," Human Skull

If you had to go to four bland suburbs and hang out with a bunch of people you didn't know for a day and look at their weird shit and eat their terrible food, you'd call that a Living Nightmare but on the Bachelorette we call it Hometown Dates and pretend to enjoy it.  FIRST OFF we're going to meet up with Human Skull in some park in Dallas and Human Skull has gotten into the Family Mescaline again because he tells D about a dream he had where they were melting into the beach and I remember that one too, right after that is when you get Total Awareness.  Oh wait, Human Skull's family has a Sno Cone empire and here comes HS in the Family Sno Cone truck and now Des distributes cups of ice and aspartame to a group of shrieking, dehydrated children and now Human Skull reappears in a humanoid penguin suit.  This whole sequence looks like footage cut from the acid scene in Easy Rider and I started breathing really hard and had to look away.  HOLD ME.

Human Skull has one of those families that think they are WACKY and ZANY but their idea of a K-RAZY TIME is to ask the speaker at the Sonic Drive-In if their refrigerator is running.  Human Skull's brother "Denton" is obviously the one who got the brains and sister is the Platonic Ideal of a Texas Chick.  They're all turned up to about 15 except for DENTON who is obviously trapped in this ADHD family and can't wait to to move to Brooklyn and read Proust at Cafe Grumpy.  Then HS plays the SAME SONG HE PLAYED HER BEFORE and the whole family joins in to sing along.  HS only has one song and he just changes the lyrics to match whatever situation they're in.  It's about going to Six Flags!  It's about this squirrel! 

Next up is Drew in Scottsdale.  There's always one in Scottsdale.  Scottsdale breeds reality show contestants like Vermont breeds hippies.  They meet up at a strip mall and Drew explains they'll meet Dad and Mom and Mom's husband BOB and the severely mentally retarded sister and whatnot.  So they pick up the SMRS and it's off to the backyard for a wine party.  Dad gets Des alone and asks, "Do you believe in angels?"  BECAUSE I HAVE SOME LITERATURE I WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH YOU.  "Do you believe that a friendly ghost built this house from scratch?  No?  Do you believe I can guess what card you picked?"  Wait, we haven't seen BOB yet.  Maybe he's an angel too!  "You can't see Bob, but we can feel him here with us."  Dad says "if you want to marry this girl I'll throw a party."  Emphasis on "girl."  Then Drew says he loves her and puts her in the SUV.  Bob will guide you safely home.

Now we're in McMinnville Oregon to see Chris, who, wait, used to play professional baseball?  REALLY?  Oh, he was in the Cubs organization.  That's not "professional baseball," silly! That's whatever it is the Cubs do.  Anyway, Des is making him an art!

That's very sweet, Des!  You and SMRS obviously take Art Class together.  After some fun Baseball times, it's off to meet Chris' family.  I think they all have goatees!  After some wine, Dad, who fancies himself a "chiropractor," takes D down to the basement for some "treatment."  Uh-oh.

But this is all pretty innocuous compared to what Dad does next, which is to SHOVE SOMETHING UP CHRIS' NOSE AND PUMP IT AND GOD KNOWS WHAT. Honestly, what the fuck, Dad!  I promise I'll never take the car again!  Mom sees Des "fitting into our group," and if Des decides to Harness the Power of Crystals or Communicate With the Astral Plane I can see that too.

Then we go to Salt Lake City to meet Brooks' huge Mormon family.  I mean, I assume they're Mormon.  They don't have Catholics in Utah, right?  There are so many of them they're wearing nametags.  My family would have done that, but "Emotionally Abusive Sociopath" won't fit in the little space.  Brooks' brothers look like the villains in a Revenge of the Nerds movie but his family is disappointingly normal.  I hate to spoil this for you, but if you haven't figured it out yet, this is the dude who's winning this thing.

Back in LA, here comes Tweaker Bro who freaked Sean out last season. She hasn't seen him since then, so I guess they're not super close.  She boringly recaps and nothing happens and then she's like "Thank you for coming all this way."  FROM THE PARK I GUESS.  Then there's a sit-down with Chris Harrison and fucking Des spoils the whole thing by saying "I am hopeful for a proposal with Brooks."  HEY IDIOT YOU'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO SPILL IT YET.  Jesus, get a clue already.

At the Rose Ceremony, Drew is already crying.  Girl, pull yourself together!  So Brooks first, then Chris, then Drew.  OH NO HUMAN SKULL!  He's going back to "kind of a dark place."  It's OK, Human Skull.  I pretty much rent a room there.  You get used to it.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Just how damn high is the rent, anyway? (Also, fun with old newspapers)

You know I like to have my fun with Gentrification Panic, but I'm not just some dumb asshole who thinks everything is great, bring on more Googles.  I do think that at some point, rents get so high that you price out entire groups of people that make this city so fucking cool, people who make art and play music and generally do the kind of shit that make the town quirky and lovable.  I mean, that's why I moved here, lo these many years ago, both to live in that kind of city and hopefully to be one of those dorks.

So we all know rents are high.  Very, very high.  But I was thinking - how is it compared to, say, when I moved here in 1990?  Would I be able to move here with my girlfriend and set up shop today, under similar circumstances?


We'll start with income.  A few weeks after we got here, I got a job working full-time in a bookstore for $20,000 a year.  My gf got a job at a deli on the corner of Columbus and Broadway, where Viva Pizza is now.  (I could tell you some weird wild stories about the clientele at that place, but that's another story.)  She probably made around five bucks an hour.  (Minimum wage back then was $4.25.)  And she didn't work full-time.  Maybe something like 25 hours a week.  So we were grossing like $2166 before taxes, probably around $1500 after taxes. 

On to housing.

Kids, this is what Craigslist looked like in 1990:

Crazy, huh?  Here's how it worked.  When you wanted to get an apartment, you bought this "newspaper" thing, that was full of what were called "classified ads," and you would look in your price range for a place that looked good and then call someone up on the phone and go see it.

That page above is from Sunday, October 21, 1990.  Since it's hard to read, here are a couple of listings:

$520 1 BR stv/frig. 17th/Valencia.

$795 2BR 1BA w/ gar. Nr UC Med. Easy trans. No pets.

$1100 Modern lux. 2BR 2BA. Frplc, gourmet kit, deck, garg. Nr 24th St. BART.

You can get up off the floor now.  Couple things: (1) That place on 17th and Valencia must have been a TOTAL FUCKING DUMP, since the only things they could think of to say about it were that it has a stove and a refrigerator. (2) I wonder what that place near 24th St. BART goes for today.

Anyway, we paid $685 for a studio in North Beach.  So, about 32 percent of our gross income.  Right around where you want to be.


Projecting our monthly income forward to today, we'd be bringing home around $3860 today.  Or, about $46000 or so a year.  I have no idea what recent college grads can make in SF today, but it has to be somewhere around that, right?  Between 2 of you, you could bring home $46K?  I mean, the job market is shit right now, but adjusted for a better job market?

So let's say Future Me and my Future Ex Wife gross $3860 a month.  32 percent of that is $1235.  What can we rent for $1235? 

Not much.

Here's a "Small 1 bedroom apt. in the Sunset Dist." for 1200.  But it does have "custom walk in shower laminate flooring shared laundry room"!

Or maybe this studio in the Tenderloin with "a good sized eat-in kitchen with energy efficient appliances and a good amount of cabinet space"!  Good amount of cabinet space, however, does not magically erase the fact that you're living at the corner of Turk & Stabbing.

Certainly no studios in North Beach.  If we go up to 1500, or 39 percent of our gross, things get a little better.  This studio in Chinatown looks pretty cool, actually, for $1480.  Or how about a 1 bedroom on Lincoln and Arguello for $1475?  Sounds totally doable.

CONCLUSION:  No way would it be as easy as it was in 1990.  But not impossible! 

This article, from the same day, is also a hoot:

Sorry, I cut off the top.  The headline is "Pricey areas in The City become less so".  (SIDENOTE:  Back when it was an actual newspaper and not an Amusement Source/Pennysaver/Sidewalk Litter, the Examiner always referred to San Francisco as The City, which I always loved.)  Anyway, the article is about real estate prices in San Francisco DROPPING.  I know, right?

Here are some open house ads from the same day:

DUBOCE PARK $239,500. 464 Waller. Sun. 12-2, 2BR, 2BA, Frplc. Vac. & alarm sys. Yard. Prkg.

No idea what a "Vac. sys." might be, but JESUS CHRIST IS THAT CHEAP.  Here's 464 Waller.  It's a single-family residence, as best as I can tell:

239 fucking thousand dollars.  Holy shit.  What a world. 

I love this one too:

DOLORES HTS $355,000.  4004 20th St. Sun 2-4. Custom blt Edward. Bachelor's hm. Quiet loc., bay view.

Bachelor's home!  Is that code for "gay guy, so it's in really good shape"?  PROBABLY! 

Anyway, to wrap up, things were a lot cheaper back then. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

If San Francisco Giants were Tech things

Buster Posey is Craigslist.  He always does what you need, is generally indispensible, holds the whole thing together, and works so well you forget he's there half the time.  He also makes a shitload of money but doesn't lord it over you by having fancy parties or buying expensive shit.

Pablo Sandoval is Facebook.  He's fucking huge, has questionable internal policies, and you have a love/hate relationship with him.  He also brings in a shitload of money.  And when your parents discovered him, they immediately became annoying about him.

Jeremy Affeldt is Zynga.  It seemed like a good idea to give him a lot of money when everyone was talking about him, but now it's kind of embarrassing and he's steadily tanking and you don't want to be seen playing him.

Hunter Pence is Twitter.  He's out there every day, you check in on him a lot, and he's sometimes amusing, but he doesn't really do anything.

Tim Lincecum is Yahoo.  He used to be vital and important to your life, but now he's not very useful and actually kind of embarrassing and actually you'll be sorta glad when he's gone.

Matt Cain is Tumblr.  You loved the shit out of him, and when he was on, he was fucking GOLDEN, but now that he's gotten a huge payout, you're kind of worried about him.

Barry Zito is Windows.  He makes an ungodly amount of money and only works about half the time, but now we can't get rid of him.

Sergio Romo is Apple Maps.  He was great for a while, but then we made some big changes to him and now he just fucks up a lot.

Jeff Francoeur is Blackberry.  He's washed up and was never that great to start with, but you bought one on a whim because, who knows, maybe it'll work this time.

Mike Krukow is PandoDaily.  He unquestionably and relentlessly praises all the people who pay for him.

AT&T Park is Apple.  It's severely overpriced but we keep buying it because it works pretty well and we have a lot of brand loyalty.

UPDATE!!!!!!: Chad Gaudin is Redtube.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Bachelorette: If this dipshit doesn't stop with the godawful "poetry" we may all have to quit

About 18 million years ago, volcanic activity began to create the island of Madeira which was all part of God's Plan so that one day a low-functioning adult could peer off the side of a boat and exclaim "Look at the fish in the water!"  And so we carry on. 

We begin with some guests from last season!  Oh, here's the winner, air quotes, Catherine, who has not shied away from the dessert table since she got engaged to Big Dumb Sean and also a couple of runnerups, Lesley and Jackie, who was barely around for a cup of coffee.  They engage in some forced-giggling faux girl talk and obviously there is some time to kill in this episode.  Nice seeing you guys, anyway.

Solo date with Brooks, who probably owns stock in a mousse factory.  Sadly, they are forced to drive around in one of those little toy cars while Des giggles and narrates in that annoying way that people who read signs as you pass them do.  They have some picnic up on a mountain and both quickly deploy all their cloud jokes.  This is so boring.  At the Outdoor Candlelight Dinner that night, Des is wearing some faux snakeskin sequined miniskirt that isn't doing her ass any favors and Brooks is already talking hometown dates!  He yammers on about how his family is so close blah blah blah at least I think that's what he's saying, he's a mumbler and I can't make it all out and it's boring as fuck anyway so who gives a shit.

Solo with Chris, I think that's his name, the Awful Poetry guy.  They're going on a boat, or, as Chris says, "chillin' boat style, drinkin' some vino," and we have a new winner for the WHITEST THING EVER SAID ON TV, beating out all seven seasons of the Bob Newhart Show.  If they do the "King of the World" shit that everyone now feels compelled to do whenever they're within 50 yards of a boat I am BLOWING SHIT UP.  She thinks he is a "great looking guy" so Jonah Hill must look like Ryan Gosling to her.  At a picnic somewhere, our worst nightmares are realized because they are going to WRITE A POEM TOGETHER.  Oh Jesus.  They don't even try to rhyme anymore, so it just comes out like someone cut up a bunch of Hallmark cards and then taped the words together randomly.  "Together love always we is experience share" and shit like that.  At Candledinner, Des is sporting a different sequined skirt and oh God he has ANOTHER FUCKING POEM.   Oh, this is the one where he tells her he loves her.  I would have loved to see him workshop this one.  "One of the colors I know is blue/And also I love you," no, no, that's not right, "A Japanese island is called Honshu/So I love you."  CLOSER! 

Date with Michael, the whiny 12-year-old diabetic tattletale.  Ugh, he is wearing a button-down tucked into khaki shorts and flip flops, pretty much the prototypical Douche Uniform.  For some reason we are sledding around? The fuck?

Sadly, this thing doesn't tip over or explode and so it's off to dinner where Michael talks about his absent Dad too?  Wait, is that new?  I thought his thing was the diabeetus.  Did he decide to go Absent Dad like all the others?  Then he tells a moving story about his ex cheating on him with some guy in Vail.  I'm on your side, sister.

Let's Double Our Fun with Drew and Human Skull.  Drew says "if you don't get the rose at the end of this date it's going to be stressful" so maybe Drew is rooting for Human Skull too?  They're going go-kart racing!  After the 3 of them take a spin, Des says, "How about you two go at it? Then you don't have to worry about me getting in the way."  Drew likes this idea A LOT!

Then we have a picnic and whatever and oh look, Human Skull has made some drawings!  They appear to be crude representations of places they have been.  VERY GOOD, HUMAN SKULL!  Also, Drew wants Des to meet his severely mentally handicapped sister.  She's probably like Niels Bohr compared to this crowd, so that should be no big thang.  Also a killer way to get a rose, which he does.  Smooth.

Following a brief pre-Rose confab with Chris Harrison, where I think she says Brooks is the current points leader, off to the Rose Ceremony.  Hey you guys, is this season going especially fast or something?  We're already at Hometowns next week?  I'm not complaining, don't get me wrong.  Anyway, what the fuck is Chris wearing?  It's like a Goodwill blazer turned inside out.  Does he not own a suit?  OK, Brooks, then Chris, then Human Skull.  Good riddance, Michael.  In the exit interview he's all sweaty and teeth-clenchy like he dipped into the Evidence Coke.  In the Crying Van, he calls Mom to tell her he got dumped!  "That's ok, sweetie pie," she says.  "She doesn't know what she's missing.  Now come home and I'll make you Fruity Pebbles."

Oh, in the previews for next week we see Des's tweaker bro, so hopefully he will liven shit up next week.  Somebody get that man a pipe!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Bachelorette: Real Housewives of Fauxdrama County

¡Barcelona! Land of 10,000 Sad Angel Statues! Where James will toast to "Mi amoebas!"  Let's go on a solo date with Walking J. Crew Catalog Drew.  We have the usual strolling around town and then we learn there's "a lot more about him that she needs to know."  I KNOW, YOUR DAD LEFT YOU, BIG FUCKING YAWN.  Oh, no, wait, Dad is his hero?  Maybe he left in a super elegant and classy way?  No, he's an alcoholic.  With cancer.  Errrbody crying now. I guess the only thing worse than not drinking anymore is getting cancer.  SORRY ABOUT THAT ONE.

Oblig candlelight dinner.  D is "overcome with emotion" and drags her and the camera crew away from dinner into an adjacent alley to do what he imagines is passionate kissing, I think.  It's tough to tell because he seems about as sexual as a ficus.  Giving up on this attempt at passion, he then moves on to the next topic, BLOWING JAMES UP for not being here for the right reasons.  Remember that whole thing about James saying if he could just get into the top 4 then he'd have a shot at being the Bachelor?  Well, first, GET FUCKING REAL, there is NO FUCKING CHANCE that meathead would ever have a shot but also, WHO GIVES A FUCK.  Everybody, apparently.  Anyway, Dez is deeply troubled and oh fucking give me a break.

El Date del Groupo!  Something soccer related.  Juan Pablo will dominate at this, I guess. They all trundle off to the Barcelona soccer stadium and Juan Pablo immediately starts showing off his mad soccer skills and also high-fiving Des a lot like she's a bro.  Then Los Doucheros play a faux soccer match against a bunch of girls and get smoked mostly because James is the goalie and, as Juan Pablo correctly analyzes, "I guess he scared of getting hit with ball." 

Let's move onto the Night Portion and the Brofontation with James and we'll skip over the terrible, terrible "poem" that Dez has written for fellow Awful Poet Chris and my one wish for this season is that everybody stop writing fucking poetry, it's really the worst.  Anyway, 2 douches confront James with his "shocking" statements about being the next Bachelor and James quickly moves through the Stages of Brofontation, namely: (1) I was kidding, (2) I said it privately, (3) Mikey brought it up and I just agreed with him. There's a lot of bleeping and then Kasey with a K says he will "counter-accusate," whatever the fuck that means and then spills the whole thing to Des AGAIN.

The Brofrontation: Artist's depiction. I forgot to get screengrabs.

OK so then Des talks to James and he's like, Mikey brought the whole thing up.  He didn't have a connection with Des and he was "self-medicating himself."  That's it, James!  It's working!  Your fake crying and everything is working!

Back at the hotel, all the hens are clucking.  Are "you thinking he might turn violent?"  SHOW ME ON THE DOLL WHERE JAMES MIGHT TOUCH YOU.  That "federal prosecutor" Michael is just a big 12-year-old snitch with a lot of mousse.  Oh here comes James.  "Goodnight!" HRMPH!  HE DIDN'T GET VIOLENT AT ALL.

Next day, solo date with Human Skull, who is now a color not found in nature and apparently is dying his skin to match his outfit for the day.  They're off to art class where they will sketch each other and Des is understandably concerned about using color because "Worst Celebrity Spray Tan Disasters" isn't on the color wheel.  Neither one of them can art very well.

Dinner that night is at Freixenet!  Hopefully some budget-priced sparkling wine will lead to romance.  They descend into the caves to have a candlelit dinner surrounded by thousands of bottles of $5.99 cava.  She wants to know all about Human Skull!  He has a "spirit that wants to continue to venture!"  RIGHT INTO AN EPISODE OF THE HAUNTING I BET.  He gets the Cheap Champagne Rose.

"At this point in my life you kinda mean everything to me," Human Skull says, which is terrifying and awful, just like this show.

Meanwhile, the housewives are getting themselves all worked up about the James thing again!  Michael is the Captain of Hating James' Guts.  Drew is physically sickened by the thought that James isn't as invested in a fake TV relationship as he is.  Des interrupts their little bitchfest and takes James out to ask "What is your intentions, like, now?" and "Is you willing to discard subject-verb agreement for me?"  She doesn't kick him out yet.  OOOOOOOOO THE LADIES ARE SO MAD WHEN JAMES COMES BACK TO THE HOTEL.  Michael is all here, hold my pearls but then James says his basic point is that he won't kill himself if he gets kicked off and that is the most normal thing that's happened so far and then he leaves and all the girls burst into tears like they dropped a Barbie and an ice cream cone at the same time.

Rose Ceremony.  We're kicking 3 off!  Sweet, shit is moving faster now.  IN: Chris, Brooks, and Cindy.  I mean Michael.  OUT: Juan Pablo, James, and Kasey, thank fucking God.  Juan Pablo tries to summon up some tears but it's hard when the awful fate that awaits you is getting more tail than a salmon trawler wait that simile didn't work at all.  James says "Nobody will ever know the exact truth" like this is the Kennedy assassination or something.  Fuck's sake.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Important Chicken News

If you're here looking for the Bachelorette recap, sorry, sorry, it's not going to be until tomorrow or maybe Thursday but hopefully tomorrow.  Things happened; the center cannot hold; etc., etc.  I'll get to it.

While we're waiting, a bit of news in the Roast Chicken Dept.  As Regular Readers recall, I presented what I believed to be the ne plus ultra of Roast Chicken a while back.  While I stand 100% by that recipe, I have some news on this front that you may or may not find interesting.

America's Test Kitchen is a cooking show that airs, well, all the time on PBS, but which I usually catch on Saturday mornings around 11:30 or 12, I'm not sure, when I'm eating brunch.  The show features an affable, New England-folksy host named Chris Kimball and a number of sidekicks, most notably Julia, who does a lot of the heavy lifting during the cooking portions and has the kind of Virgil role to Chris's Dante, showing him through the shadowy depths of pan sauces and the like, and Adam, the jolly, sometimes bearded Equipment Specialist who tells us the right kind of pastry brush to buy.  All in all, a pleasant ensemble cooking show that specializes in showing you step-by-step techniques to make the ideal versions of recipes, much like its sister magazine, Cook's Illustrated. 

ANYWAY.  The other day we're watching and they claim to have the Perfect Roast Chicken Recipe and they say it's so easy and doesn't involve flipping or brining or the other complicated parts.  COLOR ME INTERESTED CHRIS.  Here's the secret:

1. Preheat an oven-safe skillet inside the oven to 450 degrees. 

2. Cover the bird in olive oil and then salt and pepper it.  That's it.

3. When the oven and the skillet are at 450, put the chicken in the skillet breast side up and then back in the oven for 30 minutes (3.5-4 lbs) to 40 minutes (4-5.5 lbs).  The breast should be around 120 degrees after this portion.

4. Here comes the mindblowing part:  After 30 minutes, TURN THE OVEN OFF and just let the chicken sit inside there for another 30-35 minutes.  Until the breast is around 160 degrees.

5. Then take it out and let it rest for 20 minutes.

I know, right?  The fuck?

Well, we tried it.  It works pretty well!  The meat was really, really tender and moist.  The skin didn't get as crisp as I like (and as you get with the original recipe linked above).  But it is simple, and cuts out the annoying flipping the chicken over step.

(There's also a pan sauce recipe that involves shallots and garlic and butter and chicken broth and if you want that too, just go to the ATK website and register.)