Wednesday, December 31, 2008

OMG Vanderbilt won a bowl game

2 things I thought I'd never see in my lifetime:

1. A black President

2. Vanderbilt win a bowl game

So I'm expecting Maria Sharapova to show up at my place any time now with some chilled champagne and a can of Reddi Whip.

Seriously, when you grow up with Vandy football, you get used to one thing: losing. Over and over and over again. This is a team that hadn't had a winning record since 1982, for Chrissake. So their victory today was a complete, if welcome, surprise. Sure, they didn't win it so much as Boston College lost it, but hey, a win's a win. Just incredible.

OK. I'm off to the NYE party at The Sister's soon. I'm just wondering what's going to happen next.

Things I learned by watching a portion of VH-1's "100 Greatest Hard Rock Songs"

- Europe's "The Final Countdown" is a hard rock song? Really?

- "Round and Round" by Ratt is actually not a bad song at all.

- Dee Snider kind of looks like hell. Kip Winger is trying to be all tough-guy cool now. They both profess to like Alice in Chains.

- Super Hot Irish Girlfriend noted that music writer Rob Sheffield (who was one of the commenters) is maybe not totally attractive. I told her that journalists, as a rule, are not known for their good looks. "Well, Rob Sheffield is cadaver ugly," she said. "Chuck Klosterman's not really good looking, but I'd fuck him in a pinch."

It's New Year's Eve! Mom's gone! The Sister called me for advice about how much wine to get for her party, which I shall attend. I told her I thought the normal rule was one bottle for every two people, but considering the guest list for tonight, a bottle a person would be a better idea. That should be enough to last until about 10. Plus, people will bring stuff, right?

Have fun out there. See you in 2009.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Contemporary Jewish Museum: huh?

I'm exhausted.

From talking to other people, I've heard that some Moms are kind of mellow, let's-hang-out-and-have-tea Moms. Not mine. Mine is more of a how-many-things-can-you-fit-in-one-day Mom. Consequently, in the past few days, I've been to the Asian Art Museum, the Contemporary Jewish Museum, a couple of restaurants, and so on, and so on. It's nice being back at work today and getting a break.

This brings me to the Contemporary Jewish Museum. It's very strange.

It's gotten far more attention for the architecture - which is essentially a Daniel Libeskind tilted cube shoved down into a Willis Polk power station from the turn of the century - than anything inside. I guess that's to be expected, given Libeskind's status.

But once you get inside, there's not much there. On the ground floor, there's an exhibition documenting Warhol's Ten Portraits of Jews in the Twentieth Century, and that's fine, but isn't everyone a little burned out on Warhol? I am. On the second floor, there's an exhibit called In the Beginning: Artists Respond to Genesis, which had a couple of cool pieces, I guess, but didn't do much for me overall.

In the main room, the biggest part of the tilted cube, there's nothing. Well, nothing visual. There's a "sound exhibition" that mostly echoed all over the oddly-shaped room and would have been better on an iPod.

Hey, I'm no art critic. Maybe I'm not sophisticated enough to appreciate what's going on here, but to me, it seemed like a building looking for something to house. I'm also not Jewish, so I don't know if that makes any difference.

She's leaving tomorrow. My life will return to whatever level of normal it was before, I assume.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Overheard on Christmas Eve

In my house: "You're even drunker than you were last year."

Merry Christmas!

What did you get? I got a rock. I keed. Super Hot Irish Girlfriend gave me a Boss chromatic tuner. How in the world did she know I needed one of those?

My Mom, who has a long history of giving bizarre gifts, presented us with a Sportcraft electronic dartboard. Um, thanks, Mom! That'll come in handy when I open my Dave & Buster's franchise here in my house.

So we had Mom and The Sister and The Sister's boyfriend and The Sister's boyfriend's sister and our friend Tom and a couple of dogs over for dinner last night, which was delicious, especially when accompanied by 10 bottles of wine, I think. Now I'm feeling kind of oversaturated and I'm looking forward to January. Oh, and someone took a shit in the den. We're not sure, but we think it was the cat.

So, let's have a wonderful Christmas and try not to eat the pain away like Paris. What.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

It's the most wonderful time of the year. Sort of.

Found on Craigslist today:

Event on Christmas day, remembering Tatiana the Tiger (Greenwich Steps, SF)

A sculpture of her is going to be unveiled, on the Greenwich Steps at 430 in the afternoon, a year to the day of her death. If anyone would like to come, there will be a small gathering at the garden there is a public platform. Thank you...
Just in case you're not familiar, Tatiana is the tiger who jumped out of her enclosure at the SF Zoo last Christmas Day and mauled to death this guy who may or may not have been taunting her. The SFPD showed up and shot her. One of the few murder cases they've successfully closed this year, BTW!!

There was a pretty large public outcry about Tatiana's shooting, partly because the kid that got killed may have been taunting her (and seemed a little thuggy, maybe) and partly because, hey, it's San Francisco. But really, what else were the cops supposed to do? Try and lure it back to the cage with some kitty treats?

Anyway, I'm kind of tempted to go to this, because I'm totally curious about what kind of statue they're going to unveil and because it seems like there'll be all kinds of crazy at this thing, which I always love.

Merry Christmas, everybody! Make sure your Christmas plans include staying away from large land-based top predators, k?

Mine include my Mom coming to town, which is kind of close. KIDDING, MOM!!! We'll be doing a lot of cooking and hanging out and going to museums and that kind of thing. So if you see a hungover-looking guy struggling to stay awake accompanied by an older woman who's loudly asking everyone in earshot where Chinatown is, say hi!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Checkpoint? Pass.

Last night was Marco and Evany's Christmas party, and I was chosen to drive, in part, I assume, because I pretty much never drive and it was my turn. So the party was great and festive and everyone was in a wonderful mood and looked great and there was plenty of good food and the Yule Log on TV, now in hi def!

I was careful and paced myself and had about 4 beers over almost 3 hours. So I wasn't even buzzed when we left, but still.

So we get across the Bay Bridge into SF and there's a huge traffic backup at the Octavia exit and the cops are making everyone turn on Market, so I turn and then go to Franklin and then make a left on Fell.

That's when I see it. The SFPD DUI checkpoint.

Not like it was hard to figure out. There was a bunch of cops and traffic cones and a sign that said "SFPD License Enforcement and Sobriety Checkpoint." So it's not like it was a big secret or anything.

Now, like I said, I'd had like 4 beers in 3 hours, so I wasn't worried about getting a DUI, but still. I also knew I probably smelled like booze and it would be a whole production.

But....what's this? I can just make a left turn on Gough and avoid the whole thing? Don't mind if I do!

So I would say the effectiveness of the SFPD checkpoint was maybe not 100%, since you could just make a left and avoid it. On the other hand, I guess when you're really drunk you feel like "Hey! I can beat this thing! Fuck that, I'm not taking a different way just because of some fucking checkpoint!"

Also, the Safeway on Mission this morning was like packed at 10:30. What's up with that?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

David Mamet is the coolest guy ever

David Mamet may have already been one of the coolest guys ever. I mean, he wrote "Glengarry Glen Ross," so if that doesn't put you in the Top 20 of Cool, I don't know what does. But now he's just gone and gotten even cooler. To wit:

Jeremy Piven will abruptly end his run in Broadway’s “Speed-the-Plow,” after missing Tuesday evening’s performance and a Wednesday matinee.

Piven has informed the producers that he hasn’t been feeling well and that the condition is attributable to a high mercury count.

The show’s producers weren’t returning calls, but Daily Variety reached out to David Mamet, who wrote the showbiz satire and seemed skeptical of the reasons for Piven’s departure.

High mercury count? WTF? So, what does Coolest Guy Ever have to say?

“I talked to Jeremy on the phone, and he told me that he discovered that he had a very high level of mercury,” Mamet said. “So my understanding is that he is leaving show business to pursue a career as a thermometer.”

OH SNAP! You just got told, Jeremy Piven. Fuck yeah.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

True confessions

I did something recently I'm not proud of. Whilst shopping for ingredients for dinner the other night, I impulse bought a can of spray cheese. Voila:

Kraft Easy Cheese comes out of the can in a thin ribbon and tastes like what cheese might taste like if you described it to a food scientist who'd never actually eaten cheese before and told him to make cheese. It's an idea of cheese, with a vaguely metallic aftertaste. It's awful.

Here are some cheese products better than Easy Cheese: individually wrapped American cheese slices, Velveeta, Cheez Whiz, a cheese log from Hickory Farms.

The color of Easy Cheese is not found in nature.

This one's for you, Easy Cheese.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Monday morning staff meeting

Good morning! Glad to see everyone's here. Let's get started.

- Brunch at Maverick yesterday. DFL! I had the andouille benedict (andouille, poached eggs, English muffin, hold the crawfish and jalapeno hollandaise because I don't like hollandaise) and, oh, maybe 2 mimosas. Then it was off to Vintage Microwave HQ in the East Bay to watch the Raiders somehow continue in their quest to find a new bottom. Yeesh. What a miserable team that is.

- So they've remodeled Mad Dog in the Fog. If you're not familiar, it's basically a soccer bar where people go to watch Premiere League games at like 8 in the morning. Beer & wine only. It always had a pub feel, which is about right. Now it's all exposed brick and booths and flat panel displays. Which would be fine, in and of itself, but seems like a strange choice for that place in particular. They were doing a good business Saturday night, so maybe it was a good idea.

- What we're listening to right now:

Blitzen Trapper, Furr

TV on the Radio, Dear Science

- We here in SF are getting a sudden ad blitz from Emirates Air, I guess because their new non-stop service between SF and Dubai starts today. That's great and everything, but are there really that many people going between here and Dubai every day? Also, the Human Rights Commission is pissed because they only hire hot flight attendants and that's uncool.

- OK, that's about it. Now get out there and make your numbers for the week.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Top 5: Meals this year

Thanks to my meticulous recordkeeping system, I am able to tell you that the very first meal I ate in 2008 was at 2223 Restaurant for brunch, on New Year's Day. I failed to record what I had, except for noting the 2 greyhounds I drank.

After that, I went on to eat at some 74 different restaurants this year. These were the best:

1. Spruce

Phenomenal food. As I said at the time, the best piece of pork I've ever eaten. The country club crowd is kind of a drag, but when the food's this good, fuck 'em.

2. Incanto

Chef Chris Cosentino has gotten all kinds of international acclaim, and it's not hard to see why. The food was great, but the best part was the couple at the table next to us.

3. Range

Yeah, it's as good as everyone says. I had a perfectly cooked hangar steak that I don't see on the current menu, but hopefully will make a comeback.

4. The Riverbank Bar

In the Absolute Hotel, Limerick, Ireland. Maybe not the best food I had, but the combination of some very good fish and chips with an expertly poured Guinness eaten at the bar overlooking the Abbey River made for a wonderful meal.

5. Firefly

This unassuming neighborhood spot tucked into a back corner of Noe Valley turns out consistently satisfying, reasonably priced food. Always a treat.

Honorable mention: Mission Beach Cafe, Terra (great food, terrible service), Fresca, Doggie Diner (because, really, nothing's as good as a hot dog at a baseball game), Panchita's #3.

Happy Friday, everybody! Super Hot Irish Girlfriend is currently at her company Christmas party. The festivities begin at 10 a.m. with mimosas and it goes downhill from there. I wouldn't be surprised if she gets a touch of the Alcohol Poisoning I hear has been going around.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Recycling poachers, meet DeathCan!

After a fairly long respite, you know who was back last night? The fucking recycling poachers, that's who. You know how I know? Because these assholes woke me up at 11:30 last night going through my recycling out front and dropping bottles and shit. These weren't the neighborhood-homeless-guy-with-shopping-cart poachers. These were the organized-group-with-truck poachers. That pisses me off even more, for some reason.

Now, I admit that our recycling can is pretty much a cornucopia of delights for your average recycling poacher, given the number of bottles of wine (and beers, too, I guess) that Super Hot Irish Girlfriend and our associates plow through in an average week. But fuck you for waking me up, and for stealing that shit. SF is looking at a $575 million deficit, and you're not helping.

So here's what I've come up with. I call it DeathCan!!!

What do you think? That should keep 'em out of there, right?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Spell "retard" backwards

Yesterday we had Stephen & Jessica over to help decorate our Christmas tree, if by "help decorate our Christmas tree" you mean "drink 5 bottles of wine and play Cranium."

Cranium's fun enough, I guess. My beef with it (and you knew I was going to bitch about something, right) is that a lot of the questions are too fucking easy. One of the categories is all spelling and wordplay, and I shit you not, the questions are sometimes shit like "Spell 'haiku'" or "Spell 'snorkel' backwards." Not exactly particle physics. I'm just being a jackass, though. It was fun.

Anyway, somehow the tree got decorated, and Leland got to hang out in his vaguely disinterested way with Todd, and I made falafel from scratch, just 'cause that's how I roll.

Now get out there and SPEND SOME MONEY, you fucking tightwad. The future of our country depends on it.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Makes sense

Happy Friday, everyone!

Pic submitted by The Sister. Thanks, The Sister!

Cat vs. Dog

In an ideal world, there would be no war or famine or pestilence, and all things would live in harmony. Unfortunately, we do not live in such a world.

Our cat does not like our dog very much.

When Leland first arrived home, the cat took a stay-away approach. She secreted herself in the bedroom, mostly, and stayed there more or less all the time. Then, as time passed, she started to come out a bit more, but would quickly retreat whenever the dog appeared.

Now she's out and about with much greater frequency, and she doesn't care much for Leland. He, in turn, is perplexed because you can tell HE WANTS TO BE HER FRIEND SO BAD SO BAD. He always wags his tail when he sees her and shyly approaches her. She responds to these entreaties of friendship by loudly growling and hissing at him. Sometimes she'll lunge at him too, just for good measure. He's hurt and doesn't understand why she won't be friends.

Hello! Can we be friends now please?

Now that the cat has discovered her superior firepower, she's taken to fucking with the dog, apparently just for fun. She'll hide somewhere and wait til he strolls by and then DIVE OUT HISSING AND CLAWING. You never saw a dog move that fast.

There have been some encouraging signs that the animals will eventually reach a state of detente and live in a wary, if tolerable, peace. And eventually he'll stop running up to her and scaring the crap out of her.

At least, you'd think he would.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I ain't going to Rehab

Spinning absently through Digital Cable the other night, I came across yet more evidence of the decline and fall of whatever was left of American civilization.

It's a reality show called Rehab: Party at the Hard Rock Hotel and it's horrifying and oddly compelling and the douchebaggiest thing I've ever seen. In a word, it's awesome.

It seems that the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas has a daytime party in and around their pool area on Sundays called "Rehab" in which roided-out pinhead mooks with tribal armband tattoos and hoochie Girls Gone Wild congregate to engage in their bizarre mating rituals while drinking $1,000 bottles of champagne. Meanwhile, "TruTV" (which used to be CourTV but apparently decided that was too classy) documents the whole spectacle. It's like the Fall of Rome, as staged by guys who wear visors backwards and girls in dinner-plate-sized sunglasses and gold lame bikinis.

Been recently lobotomized? This might be fun then!

Masterpiece Theater, it's not. But like many other Entertainment Products I absorb, I can't explain its strange appeal. There's no real plot to speak of, just interconnected storylines like "The guys in Cabana 48 only tipped me $250 on their $1700 tab" and "Bring us some girls, but not Vegas girls" and "Somebody take this passed-out chick to the hospital, because her friend wants to stay and party."

I guess it's fascinating on some level to me because it concerns a world I've never been a part of. I guess it would be just as strange for the guy with the 36" pecs who shouted "NEW JERSEY!!!!!" at the camera to watch a reality show in which we went to Cafe du Nord to see a band no one's ever heard of and then went to Lucky 13 to talk about how shitty the crowd was.

P.S. I know the title of this post was totally obvious and lame, but I couldn't think of anything else.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Urban etiquette: an occasional series

Today's topic: The mysteries of tipping

Tipping used to be easy. Go to a restaurant, get service, leave tip. Now everywhere I go, some counter jockey with a sense of entitlement wants me to leave money for them doing their job. Confused? Here are the guidelines to follow. Clip 'n save.

Restaurants: This is the easy one. 20% minimum, more if you feel like it or the service was extra good. Going below 20% is only justified if the service was really, really bad or the waitron was totally rude. Luckily, this doesn't happen very often, even in SF.

Hotels: About $5 a day, depending on whether they have to change the sheets every day or it's one of those hotels where they don't change the sheets the whole time you're there. Leave the money on the table with a note that says "Thanks so much!" If you're questioning tipping the hotel maid, remember that she (because it's always a "she") makes about $1.50 an hour and changes 50 beds a day and cleaned up the snotty Kleenex you left on the floor, you fucking slob.

Taxis: Usually a couple of bucks, if it's under $20. I try to round to the nearest 5, if possible. So if it's $12, I give $15, for example. If not, just kick down an extra 3 or 4 bucks on top of the fare. If it's over 20, adjust accordingly. I rarely have fares that high, but I remember giving $30 on a $21 fare once.

Bartenders: Standard rule is a dollar a drink, every time. More if he or she is really good. Word to the wise - if you want to get good service all night, start out with about 2 bucks a drink on that first round. Works like a charm.

Counter jars: This is the toughest one. Seems like everywhere you go now, any place that has a cash register has a cup asking you for tips.

Well, you know what? Fuck that. Here's my basic rule - unless the person behind the counter performed some value-added service above and beyond simply doing their job, no fucking tip. EXAMPLES: (1) Cashier rings up product I selected. Are you fucking kidding? No tip. (2) Barista pours cup of coffee, hand it to me. No tip. BUT (3) Barista makes complicated double half-cap caramel mocchiato. If you're gay enough to drink something like that, yes, you have to tip. (4) Burrito Assembly Tech puts together your super w/ carne asada, hold the guac. Yes, an extra buck in the cup next to the cashier won't kill you.

I know, it's somewhat arbitrary, but you get a feel for it after a while. Anyway, if it's confusing, just listen to the little voice in your heart.

I have no fucking idea. Do I seem to you like the kind of person who gets massages?

I know this isn't totally comprehensive, but I'm sure once you absorb and internalize these general guidelines, you'll be able to figure out what to do with the valet and your gardener and the gift-wrap girl at Macy's.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The post-Thanksgiving roundup

We got back Friday night, went to Fresca for dinner, then watched the season finale of Sons of Anarchy. I know I've been pimping SOA like crazy, but seriously, it is so fucking awesome. I already miss it.

The flights back were fine, but I was stuck next to a Non-Communicator, like Super Hot Irish Girlfriend was on the flights out. You know this type? No matter what you say, nothing. No verbal response. So I go "Excuse me, could I get out?" and he looks at me and then gets up without saying a word. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to be next to Mr. Talky for a whole flight, but just saying "Sure," or "No problem" is kind of basic human interaction, right?

On the flight there, SHIG was next to a total Southern prep type with a button-down shirt tucked into jeans, with loafers. And a Bible. Same deal. Not a word from him. Even worse, she's trying to get her tray table out of the armrest (we were in a exit row, which, for me, is vitally important to air travel, but more on that later) and Southern Prep is asleep, so she touches his arm to try and wake him and he moves his arm without a word and then rubs it like it burns or something. Seriously, what the fuck is up with people? She's Irish, not a demon.

So, Thanksgiving with the extended family. Per usual, the food was excellent, blah blah blah, and we opened the first bottle of wine around 12:30, so it was definitely fun. Oh, we have a gay in our family now. She was always in our family, I mean, but now she's a gay. This bit of info was imparted to me and my sister and SHIG in a hushed, I-have-some-very-serious-news kind of way, but our reaction was pretty much a collective shrug.

OK! Now it's officially Christmas season. The bad part of that is the shopping and crowds and Norelco electric razor ads and crass commercialism, but the good part is that it's now socially acceptable to drink almost every day and listen to "Fairytale of New York" as many times as you want without someone saying "Are you still listening to that? Christmas is over."

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Ways you can tell you're in the South

- On Saturday night, the top story on the local news is tomorrow's Titans-Jets game. The second story is the Vanderbilt-Tennessee game.

- On Sunday night, the top story is a recap of the Titans-Jets game, with interviews asking people how they plan to continue living after the Titans loss.

- Sitting next to us at Cracker Barrel at lunch yesterday are two standard-middle-management-looking guys in button-down shirts. They are discussing bowhunting and what firearms they have recently acquired.

- Not familiar with Cracker Barrel? It's a chain restaurant that aims to replicate the classic Southern "meat and three"-style eating establishment. For about $7, you get an entree (like pork BBQ, chicken, ham) and a couple of side dishes (like green beans, pinto beans, hashbrown casserole, fried okra, and the like) and some cornbread or biscuits. It's delicious, maybe because every dish involves pork fat in some way. Cracker Barrels are ubiquitous in the South, and come equipped with a gift shop and semi-intelligible waitresses.

- AM radio has several different stations featuring religiously-themed programming. Every day of the week. You can pass 5 or 8 churches in a 5-minute drive.

- Almost everyone is super-friendly, except for me. Kidding. I'm trying.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Somebody set up us the bomb

I have been issued, at my workstation, the "Bomb Threat Checklist" pictured at left, to be deployed in the unlikely event that someone calls me with a bomb threat.

In such an instance, I am to use the checklist to gather pertinent info from the would-be bomber. Some of the stuff is pretty basic, and I could have thought of it myself, like "Where is the bomb now?," "When is the bomb going to explode?," and "What does the bomb look like?"

I am also to note the bomber's "demeanor," whether it be "calm, excited, angry, incoherent," etc.

BUT my favorite part of the whole checklist are these two questions:

"What is your full name and address?" and "What is your call back number?"

"Oh, it's Jackson S. Blowshitup, and my number is 415-282.....hey, wait a minute!!!"

Happy Friday, everyone!

Tomorrow Super Hot Irish Girlfriend and I will cram ourselves into very small airplane seats and be catapulted across this great land to spend some quality time with Dad 'n sister 'n steps 'n halfs 'n relatives that I'm not sure how I'm related to. Fear not! Updates will continue to arrive apace.

Have you seen Chuck Klosterman's review of Chinese Democracy? It's pretty great:

Reviewing Chinese Democracy is not like reviewing music. It's more like reviewing a unicorn. Should I primarily be blown away that it exists at all? Am I supposed to compare it to conventional horses? To a rhinoceros? Does its pre-existing mythology impact its actual value, or must it be examined inside a cultural vacuum, as if this creature is no more (or less) special than the remainder of the animal kingdom? I've been thinking about this record for 15 years; during that span, I've thought about this record more than I've thought about China, and maybe as much as I've thought about the principles of democracy.

I'm interested in the album as a cultural artifact far more than as music, because I was never a huge G 'n R fan, but I'm looking forward to hearing some of it, in some strange way.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Maybe I'm going to the wrong places

- I assume we've all been following the Douchiest Bar in San Francisco discussions over at EaterSF. 122 comments on the thread! Wow, that's a lot of douche.

From my rather cursory glance at the comments, it seems like Medjool and MatrixFillmore are the front-runners. But the more the comments go on, the more it looks like any bar someone doesn't like is going to get mentioned.

I've been to both places and have actually been pretty lucky. I've never been to Medjool when it's at Full Douche, which, judging from all the sparkly shirts and gelled hair in line when I pass it on the way to Mission Bar, appears to be Thursday to Saturday nights after 10. I have been to the rooftop on a Sunday afternoon, which was actually perfectly pleasant and douche-free.

I've also been to at MatrixFillmore at an off-time, Saturday afternooon around 5 or 6. Super Hot Irish Girlfriend and I were the only two people there, so I can safely report that it was COMPLETELY DOUCHE-FREE. The bartender was still a bitch, though.

I think the douchiest places in SF that I've been to are the Blue Light in the Marina (every bad Marina stereotype - loud frat boys, backwards baseball caps, chest bumping, "DUDE!," all that shit), Momo's before Giants games (same exact thing as Blue Light, but outside and packed), and the Redwood Room ($15 cocktails so people can pretend they're in LA, with cosmetic surgery to match).

I never go to dance clubs, but those are probably all much worse than any of these places.

- My dog is a total flirt. Walking last night, he comes to a dead stop in front of a girl who's coming out of her house. She goes, "Oh, what a cute puppy!" He goes wag wag wag wag. I pull on the leash a little. "Leland, c'mon," I say. Nothing. He stands there and looks at her. Wag wag wag wag. She smiles one more time and gets in her car and I can finally pull him away. Geez, dude, get some game. Don't come on too strong. Chicks hate that.

- I know Top Chef is back, and I'm watching it and everything, but somehow I'm not as fired up about it any more.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Top 5: This past weekend edition

1. Yesterday we took Leland to Stern Grove with our friend Aimee and a couple of other dogs. She's a professional dog trainer/walker person, so she was helping us out with some tips.

He did good around the other dogs, mostly. Little nervous, but I guess if you're a 15-pound chihuahua/terrier mix and a 60-pound lab comes barreling up to you at top speed, you'd have reason to be a little skittish. Overall, he did really well, though.

Here's what we found out: we should only be feeding him once a day and also we're not squealing "GOOD BOY!!!! GOOD BOY!!!!!" nearly enough.

2. I made pot roast from this recipe yesterday in the crock pot. I know, how June Cleaver is that? Anyway, it was really pretty good, and now I have like 2 pounds of leftover meat to eat on for the rest of the week.

3. In case you hadn't noticed, Vanderbilt is now bowl-eligible for the first time since 1982. Congrats, Vandy!

4. It's kind of a cop-out to say the weather, but c'mon, it was in the high 70's/low 80's all weekend? I mean, really.

5. Joel Gott sauvignon blanc. Citrusy! On sale at Safewizzle for $9.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Every 26 years, just like clockwork

Well, it happened. Vanderbilt is now bowl-eligible, after beating Kentucky 31-24 tonight.

Wrap your head around this: the last time Vanderbilt won 6 games in a season was in 19-fucking-82.

You know how long ago that was? There was no Internet. There weren't even CDs. The personal computer was an Apple II. It cost $10,000 and could only run BASIC. Popular songs included "Physical" by Olivia Newton-John and "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor, songs so bad that even their writers would probably deny any knowledge of them today. People slept under crude bearskin comforters and Andy Rooney was young and vital. It was a different time.

Well, wake up, America. Vandy is almost definitely going to a bowl game. And you know what? Fuck it, so am I. So hello, Independence Bowl or, God help us, Bowl. Yes, I will be spending part of my holiday season in beautiful Shreveport, Louisiana or Birmingham, Alabama. And you know what? That's fucking awesome. Because seeing Vanderbilt in a bowl game is one of those things you thought you'd never see happen. Like a black President. Oh wait.

Friday, November 14, 2008

One of these things is not like the other

- Temperature right now in San Francisco: 80 degrees.
Temperature right now in Chicago, Illinois: 47 degrees.

I'm fine here, thanks. But seriously, 80 degrees on November 14? That's some straight-up earthquake weather. Make sure your earthquake kit is up-to-date! Hmmm, we drank the vodka that was in ours. I'll have to replace that.

- Happy Friday, everyone! I have a music recommendation. I have been obsessively listening to Jenny Lewis' new album Acid Tongue. It's beautiful and rocking and just great.

- You know what's nice? When you have to take your car to the shop and it turns out to be much much cheaper than you thought.

The Foxy Box was leaking massive quantities of coolant and besmirching every surface he came into contact with. I was afraid of massive radiator damage, but luckily it was only a heater valve. $35. Well, plus the $85 in labor.

I would like to take this opportunity to give a shout-out to Skillcentre at 1458 San Bruno. Great guys, great work. I was not given a discount for this message. Unfortunately.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Next week: The Dog Conference on Why We Love Cats

Dear God, help me. I just found myself agreeing with Brian Sussman.

As regular readers know, I often tune into the "Suss-man" show when I need a good laugh and a dose of the crazy. I think it's fair to say that Brian and I disagree on most issues. He thinks Obama is a Muslim terrorist and I love sunshine and happiness.

Anyway, tonight he was talking about this conference on religious tolerance at the United Nations. The funny thing about this conference - or, indeed, anything with the word "tolerance" in it - is the fact that it was convened at the behest of Saudi Arabia, that noted world leader in the field of respect for the religions of others.

Brian and I both call bullshit on this charade. Saudi Arabia is one of the most famously religiously intolerant places on Earth, with roaming gangs of religious morality police who administer beatdowns if you practice another religion in public. Saudi Arabia is so bad that it's one of the few countries that almost everyone hates. The far left hates it for its treatment of women as chattel. The religious right hates it for the fact that it's a Muslim theocracy. Everyone with a GMC Yukon hates it for how much it charges for gas. Never mind the fact that the majority of the 9/11 hijackers came from there and not from Iraq, the country we actually went to war with.

So why would Fuckedupistan convene a conference on religious tolerance? To try and score some points with the other countries? Not really, according to this scary as shit story:

Saudi King Abdullah, who initiated this week's special session, is quietly enlisting the leaders' support for a global law to punish blasphemy – a campaign championed by the 56-member Organization of Islamic Conference that puts the rights of religions ahead of individual liberties. If the campaign succeeds, states that presume to speak in the name of religion will be able to crush religious freedom not only in their own country, but abroad.
So there you have it. This shit is scarier than The Ring and Go-gurt combined. And the Suss-man and I finally agree on something.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

From the Sports Desk (broadly defined)

- Big congrats to young Timmy Lincecum on winning the Cy Young. I happen to have a baseball signed by the last Giants winner, Mike McCormick, who won in 1967. He gave it to Super Hot Irish Girlfriend after she sat in his lap. Long story.

- I've been avoiding watching the 49ers more or less since around 2003 since, well, they've sucked pretty relentlessly. I did watch a little bit of last night's game against the Cardinals, and I have to say, they looked totally not bad except for that STUPID FUCKING CALL ON THE LAST PLAY OF THE GAME WHAT THE FUCK WERE YOU THINKING SINGLETARY? There's 4 seconds left and you're 2 yards out and you hand it off to Michael Robinson for a run up the middle? I don't get it. Predictably, he got stuffed. Game over, Niners lose.

- When Vanderbilt was 5-0 and ranked, what, 18th in the country, my Dad, always the optimist, said "They won't win another game." Sadly, he might be right.

- This is sort of sports-related. Since we got Leland the Dog, the cat, whose occupancy at our residence predated Leland, has more or less secreted herself in the bedroom and only come out to hiss at him, eat some food, and slink back to her lair.

But in the last day or so, she figured out that Hey, I can take this guy!! Now she's starting to come after him a little and scare him out of her way and he's learning now not to fuck with her. This will improve interspecies relations all around, I feel.

No puppy cam in the future, sorry.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The SFGate comments section: where crazy comes to play

If you're like me (and by that, I mean you enjoy the bizarre, incomprehensible rantings of the criminally insane), you love the Comments on SFGate. A little backstory , in case you haven't had the pleasure: a few months ago, SFGate started providing a space for anyone to post comments on every story they post on the site. Now, I'm not trying to brag or anything, but San Francisco is chock full of urbane, witty, intelligent folks, so the comments section of SFGate would naturally be replete with choice bon mots and trenchant obervations on the stories, right?

Wrong. The comments section of SFGate - which, again, I love - is an absolute sinkhole of human misery and depravity. It's like taking look into the reptilian brain of the Bay Area, and it's scary and wonderful.

Let's see an example. Last week, there was a story on SFGate entitled "If Prop. 8 passes, what about those who wed?" about whether same-sex couples who got married before the election would still be married after Prop. 8 took effect. However you feel about this emotionally-charged issue, put it aside for a second, because that's not why we're here.

There were 727 comments on the story. That's a lot, even by SFGate standards. Many people weighed in with their views on same sex marriage, both pro and con. And then there's this:

Entire country can be an ACORN housing project. If Iran attacks Israel, then a community organizer can provide homes for Iranians in an ACORN housing project. If Russia attacks the United States, then a community organizer can provide homes for Russians in an ACORN housing project. If terrorists attack the United States, then a community organizer can provide homes for terrorists in an ACORN housing project. If North Korea develops nuclear weapons, then a community organizer can provide homes for North Koreans in an ACORN housing project. If an illegal immigrant kills a father and his two sons in San Francisco, then a community organizer can provide homes for illegal immigrants in an ACORN housing project.

Ummm...OK then! Not sure what "ACORN housing projects" have to do with same-sex marriage, but I'm sure the voices buzzing in your meth-addled brain made the correlation.

Here's a tragic story, "CHP: Speed likely factor in students' crash," about a tragic accident in which three Stanford grad students in a Jeep Cherokee went off the road on Highway 1 and died. Now, most people would extend sympathetic thoughts and prayers for the families, right? Not your SFGate commenters!

who speeds in a jeep cherokee? physics anyone? now the next time i am going 3 miles over the speed limit some self righteous cop straight out of the military with no chances of getting any other job is going to use this story to drive home some constructed preachy story about going slow and obeyng the blah blah blahing. your life was fine stanford fools, what a pontless waste of your parents' monies.

You're not only dead! You're stupid! And now cops are going to pull me over because you're dead and stupid!

I'm not even going to get into SFGate commenters' strange fascination with prison rape, but suffice it to say that any story that is tangentially related to the criminal justice system inevitably brings comments about the despicable acts the defendant will be subjected to while incarcerated. It's beyond weird.

Don't go changing, SFGate commenters! You make me feel a little more sane every day.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Please welcome the newest member of our team

Everyone, please welcome Leland aboard.

Leland was referred to us by executive search firm/placement service Rocket Dog Rescue, as they felt he had a skillset compatible with the needs of our operation. After a successful interview, marred only by Leland shitting on the floor because he was nervous, Leland joined our firm as a full-time employee.

Leland comes to us from Los Banos, where he was previously employed in an unknown capacity, but which clearly did not involve any knowledge of the words "sit," "stay," or "Do not hassle that cat, Leland! She will take your fucking face off! You are messing with the wrong goddam cat!"

Leland, 6, plans to live here at 40goingon28 HQ. He is gregarious and has the energy of a hummingbird on Ritalin. In his spare time, he enjoys walking at a breakneck pace, relaxing on the couch, and anything bacon-flavored.

Please join me in extending a warm welcome to the newest member of our team.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

So that happened

There's very little to say at this point that hasn't been said already, and better, by observers both smarter and more literate than me. I will say that it's kind of awe-inspiring and heartening that we, as a nation, have overcome a shameful legacy of discrimination and finally elected someone who used to smoke pot. Maybe we've finally moved past the divides that once rent us apart.

To the left: Don't count on universal health care and group meditation in the Rose Garden just yet.

To the right: It's not going to be as bad as you think.

Obama's a smart dude, and anyone who watched Clinton's massive fuckups in his first year would know not to go down that path again. He'll start out cautiously, I bet. I feel sorry for the guy, actually. It's like finally getting a date with Megan Fox, and then Megan Mullally shows up in her place. Urgh. Anyway, Obama's got a pile of shit to turn into a petit-four and he's only got 4 years to do it. Best of luck, my man.

OH, I almost forgot. This cracked me up. I'm watching Fox News last night after it's all done and Shepard Smith and some chick are post-morteming the whole thing, and he starts talking about how the negative campaign was a disservice to McCain. Remember, this is on the same network that used to run Jeremiah Wright clips on a 24-hour cycle like it was a tornado alert. And then the talking head next to him clucks along and says the attacks on Obama were "very distasteful." O. M. G. Physician, heal thyself!

One last thing. McCain's concession speech kind of ruled. If he had talked like that the whole time.... well, he still probably wouldn't have won, but you get the idea.

OK! That's that. Let's talk about something else now.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Don't you dare say San Francisco doesn't represent America

They're singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" outside my place, around the corner.

Here's some shit you won't get on CNN

Today, Ronn Owens on KGO had a "30 second" special, where anyone can call in and say anything they want for 30 seconds without interruption and without any discussion or response. This show should be known as the "OMG I'm on the radio listen to my crackpot insane theory" special.

ANYWAY, some woman called in and reported that she was sad to inform us that Obama was going to lose, because, astrologically speaking, he was nominated in a "void month" and no one nominated in a void month has ever won.

She went on to acknowledge that this "might sound crazy." NO! What are you talking about? Makes perfect sense to me!

So you heard it here first. McCain wins. Void month.

No we can start thinking about 2012! Yay!

- Voted this morning. There was already a line when I got there at 6:55 a.m. Got out of there around 7:45 a.m.

WHEW! Glad that's over. I'll miss you, flag pins, "all of them," "that one," Jeremiah Wright, socialism, Joe the Plumber, nation of whiners, fundamental differences, clinging to guns and religion, Trig, Cindy, Axelrod and Schmidt, purple states, the Bradley Effect, daily tracking polls, town hall meetings, PUMAs, Paulites, Nader - again?, the Straight Talk Express, you betcha, mavericks, and my friends. Until next time.

- Some big changes afoot in the TK/Super Hot Irish Girlfriend residence. More details later.

Friday, October 31, 2008

This will scare you so much it will damage your already-fragile psyche forever

The scariest movie I ever saw was The Changeling, which came out in 1980 and has no relation to the Angelina Jolie movie of the now. This older flick, starring a suitably distressed-looking George C. Scott, was so fucking creepy that it took me months to get over it.

Here's the (semi-long, two-minute) trailer:

The film built with a relentless, terrifying edge that just got scarier and scarier. Freaked me the fuck out. I've never been a big horror movie fan, and sometimes I think it's because I saw this film at a young age and it fucked me up so much I became allergic to horror films in general.

Happy Halloween, everybody! Halloween on a Friday in San Francisco. Yeah, that shouldn't be a problem at all. We're going to Vintage Microwave World HQ in the East Bay for dinner, but that BART ride back to SF around 11 pm should be full of ghouls. Or fools, anyway.

Be safe, Don't dress up as Sarah Palin. Somebody already had that idea.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

They are at it again

Rec'd via US Mail yesterday, shared domicile of TK & Super Hot Irish Girlfriend:

  • No on H flyer. Gavin and the Bay Area Reporter want us to vote no on H.
  • San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee endorsement flyer. They are for yes on H. Isn't Gavin a Democrat? Somebody should tell him about this.
  • A Sandoval for judge flyer. He has "A World Class Education - Columbia Law."
  • A Bath & Body Works circular. $10 off my purchase of $30 or more!
  • A "Voter Information Guide for Democrats," prepared by an outfit suspiciously named "Voter Information Guide, not an official political party organization."
  • A flyer from the United Educators of San Francisco urging us to vote no on Propositions 4 and 8 and to vote for Yee, Norton, Fewer and Mak. They are apparently running for school board. Fuck, I have to figure out school board elections too?!? First I've heard of that.
  • A flyer from the Sierra Club. They're in favor of high-speed rail to LA. BIG SHOCK, SIERRA CLUB. They're also against Prop. 4, requiring parental consent for tennagers to get abortions. Not sure what this has to do with the environment. They're less likely to go hiking if they have kids, maybe?
  • Emily Murase for school board flyer. Again with the school board. She has 2 kids in the Japanese Bilingual Bicultural Program at Rosa Parks Elementary School. That's pretty multicultural.
  • A flyer from the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club. They want me to vote no on Prop. 8, duh. They do not endorse Emily Murase for school board.
  • A brochure from Comcast urging me to watch more and different TV. As far as I can tell, Comcast is not endorsing anyone for school board. Sheryl Crow is on the cover. I wish she would run for something so I could vote against her.
  • A flyer from the "They Are At It Again Committee" warning me that Chris Daly's Proposition B will force budget cuts and increase taxes. I'm against that, I think. I wonder where the "They Are At It Again Committee" meets. I can just see the bartender rolling her eyes and going "Oh God, the They Are At It Again Committee is at it again."

Nine pieces of election -related mail. I still have no clue what to do about Prop. H. I'm going to blow off most of the SF propositions because I can't figure them out and, frankly, I thought the whole idea behind representative democracy was that we elected people to go take care of this shit for us.

Come on, November 5.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Let us now gather our pitchforks and torches

Let's say your company just declared bankruptcy and received, oh, a couple billion dollars of taxpayer money. What's the best use of that money? Giving employees fat bonuses, of course!

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley, both still on track for profitable years, have set aside about $13 billion for bonuses after three quarters, down 28 percent from a year ago. Even some employees at Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., which declared the biggest bankruptcy in U.S. history last month, will get the same bonus they received a year ago.

Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are each receiving $10 billion from the government. In other words, they're taking our tax dollars and spending it on bonuses for their employees. And John McCain and Sarah Palin have the unmitigated gall to accuse Obama of wanting to redistribute the wealth. What you're seeing here is the real redistribution of wealth that's been going on for the last 8 years, from average people to the ultra-rich. It's obscene.

In a related story, I can't fucking wait for this election to be over. Just like McSweeneys, I'm looking forward to November 5 like an alcoholic looks forward to January.

Prop. STFU Part 2 - the San Francisco propositions

As if having a whole crapload of state ballot propositions wasn't enough, here in San Francisco we also have 22 - 22! - local San Francisco ballot propositions to vote on. Now, I actually tried to read the entire ballot pamphlet (which is more like a ballot Sears catalog, BTW), but then I got sleepy and my eyes rolled back in my head and I started gibbering in tongues and had to stop.

So I'm going to have to skip over such pulse-pounders as Proposition G, "Allowing Retirement System Credit for Unpaid Parental Leave," and just hit some of the highlights.

Proposition H has been getting a lot of attention and lots of strong feelings, especially around the blogosphere, which is where many San Franciscans of a certain age spend a lot of their time. Anyway, as best I can tell, this prop mandates that the city switch over to 100 percent sustainable electricity by 2040 and authorizes the city to buy up PG&E facilities if necessary. Obviously, PG&E is against it. Who else is against it? Gavin, DiFi, and the Chron. Who's for it? Chris Daly, the Grey Panthers, and award-winning filmmaker Kevin Epps. I have no fucking idea.

Proposition K basically tells the cops to stop enforcing laws against prostitution. I think this is one of those ideas with great intentions (i.e., to make it easier for sex workers to report abuse and human trafficking) that is not going to work out so well in the real world. What I think will happen is that those areas with a lot of prostitution activity now (I'm looking at you, Tenderloin) will see even more, and bolder. I would imagine that hookers in Oakland and San Leandro will start coming to the city instead. Not so great is you happen to live at Polk & Larkin.

Proposition R proposes renaming the city's wastewater treament plant the "George W. Bush Sewage Plant." Look, I'm no fan of, or apologist for, George W. Bush. I think he's run one of the most venal, cynical, divisive, damaging administrations in this nation's history. But this is just juvenile. It's silly, third-grade shit. I'd prefer just to let the man sink into the shadows of history rather than be reminded of him by having his name affixed to any structure in San Francisco. Stupid.

You're going to have to do the reading on Prop. P, "Changing the Composition of the San Francisco County Transportation Authority Board," and Prop. I, "Creating the Office of an Independent Rate Payer Advocate," on your own.

- In other news, huge Prediction Fail from my picks last week. Vanderbilt lost to Duke and their season is essentially over. I'm not sure they'll win another game. And of course, Florida beat the fuck out of Kentucky and could have covered a 56-point spread, nevermind a 26-point spread. Hopefully I'm not so off on presidential prediction.

[EXPLANATORY NOTE:] Youngsters, Sears used to send out a big catalog with all their wares. It was hundreds and hundreds of pages. Like phone book size. Oh, whoops, that might not be a good comparison. Like if you stacked 10 copies of "Wired" all on top of each other.

What? Oh, right. "Sears" was a major American retailer of clothes and tools and refrigerators and auto parts and just about everything. I have no idea if they still exist.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Like you need another reason to love San Francisco politics

Board of Supervisors President/Obviously Deranged Lunatic Aaron Peskin weighs in on Mayor Gavin Newsom:

"We are in the midst of what in San Francisco Chronicle terms could be a moderate takeover of San Francisco. Bull-! It is a conservative takeover of San Francisco," Peskin said at a recent meeting of the Harvey Milk Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Democratic Club - in remarks captured by Luke Thomas for all to see on

"And I will say it by name," Peskin went on. "Does anyone know that (Supervisor) Michela Alioto-Pier is a cousin of Gavin Newsom?" (Actually, her cousin is married to his sister.)
"They are going to extend that empire by electing her brother (Joe Alioto Jr., running for supervisor from District 3) so that the chief executive and two members of the (board) will be from the same family," Peskin said.

"They are moderates? My ass! They are right-wing reactionaries," Peskin said of the green-obsessed, pro-same-sex-marriage mayor and his allies.

Oh, this is fantastic. Gavin Newsom, a "right-wing reactionary"? Say what you will about the guy, but if he's right-wing, then I'm Mussolini.

Wait, it gets better.

Overcome by the enormity of the threat, Peskin waxed nostalgic.
"In the old days, we had Willie Brown," he said. "Now we have a slicker, kinder, gentler, less effective but just as evil son of a bitch known as Gavin Newsom."

Prompting this retort from mayoral spokesman Nathan Ballard: "Did Peskin call the mayor 'an evil son of a bitch' - or was that just the booze talking?"

"Was that just the booze talking?" God, I love this town.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Proof that the culture is moving too fast for me

At about 1:30 p.m. today, I first read about the McCain campaign volunteer who made up a story about being abducted by a black man who used a knife to carve a "B" into her cheek, for "Barack," I guess. I hadn't heard about the story when it was first reported as being true.

At around 2:00, I saw a picture of the woman, with her self-inflicted injury, for the first time.

At 2:45 p.m., I received an email from a trusted associate with the following attachment:

Congratulations, Ashley Todd! You now belong to the Internets.

40goingon28 predicts

TAMPA BAY -1.35 to win WS

Gotta go with the Rays. Stumbled a little in game one, but looked sharp last night (at least the part I saw, through 7 innings). Does Philly have enough pitching?

VANDERBILT -10 1/2 over DUKE

Vandy's going to win, just not by 11. It seems like Vandy loses every time they're favored. I don't think they're going to lose this time, but asking Vandy to cover a 10 1/2-point spread is like asking Lohan not to snort the last line.


Are you fucking kidding me? 26? I know Florida's good and everything, but Kentucky's 5-2. Of course, 3 of those were Norfolk State, MTSU, and Western Kentucky, but still. I think Florida wins and doesn't cover.

BARACK OBAMA 1-10 over John McCain

I'm going to hate myself for taking Obama, especially with those odds, because if there's one thing a Democrat can do, it's blow a sure thing. But right now, my gut is telling me he's going to win. Not by a lot, like some of you knuckleheads think, but a win.

SOMEONE THROWS UP IN A PORTA-POTTIE AT ZEITGEIST - 6 1/2 over no one throws up in a Porta-Pottie at Zeitgeist

Those things will have been cooking in the sun all day. Throw in above-average 83 degree high for today, the fact that Zeit will undoubtedly be packed to the gills, and some doofus who starts drinking at 4:30 and then does a warm shot of Jameson, and I think it's a done deal.


Like I said, it's going to be 83 degrees today. White FTW.

Happy Friday, everyone! Sorry I've been a bit lax with the updates, but swear to God, nothing's been going on. I'll do better, I swear.

Monday, October 20, 2008


- Still in Portland. Leaving today. The wedding was last night (?) at the View Point Inn, which was really nice and everything, but I'm still a little puzzled by the Monday wedding thing.

A couple of observations:

1. There was this couple there at the wedding wearing jeans and fleece pullovers. Really? Is this what we've come to? It's acceptable to just wake up and put on whatever happens to be on the floor and then go "Oh, hey, let's go to that wedding?" Jesus Christ, people, it's a fucking wedding, not a cookout. At least put on a shirt with a fucking collar.

2. Writing your own vows is nice and everything, but there's something to be said for the traditional "Do you take this woman" stuff. It's classic and resonant.

- I gave a $1.00 to a guy busking in downtown Portland because he was playing "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea" by Neutral Milk Hotel. How cool is that?

- Super Hot Irish Girlfriend and I got to Portland Saturday night. We immediately got to drinkin'. After a couple of quick ones at the hotel bar, we went to Deschutes Brewery's pub in the Pearl District. Tried a couple of the seasonal ales there, then went to dinner at Henry's Tavern. It was alright. By this point, I'm not sure how much it mattered, because after a few beers with 6 to 7 percent alcohol, food is really kind of an afterthought.

- Sunday, SHIG had a 5-star hangover. But we had to go buy a wedding present, so she pulled herself together and soldiered through Macy's. There is nothing as much fun as shopping the housewares section of Macy's with a girl who's moaning "I'm gonna die, I'm gonna die." I gotta hand it to her, though - she toughed it out.

- She looked great at the wedding, too.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Prop. STFU

The California ballot proposition system started with nothing but good intentions. In the late 1800s, the Southern Pacific Railroad basically ran the state and owned the Legislature and did whatever it wanted to do, which was to build a lot of railroads, I guess. Anyway, the ballot prop was enacted as way to give citizens direct access to government. If you don't live in California, the basic idea is that a ballot prop lets voters directly enact or amend laws.

What started out as a good idea has now become an out-of-control behemoth that makes voting a royal pain in the ass and enables any nutcase with enough money to pay to gather signatures to put whatever kind of cockamamie batshit insane crap on the ballot he or she wants.

Let's take a look at some of the 12 different props for this election. Brief descriptions stolen shamelessly from the Chron.

Prop 1A - Invests $9.95 billion in a zero-emissions, high-speed train network that would make it possible to get from downtown San Francisco to Los Angeles in 2 1/2 hours.

Fuck yeah! Who doesn't want to get to LA in 2 1/2 hours? Plus, fast trains are way cool.

Prop 2 - Establishes standards for the confinement of farm animals, focused on a ban on putting egg-laying hens in cramped cages.

Animals are cute. Yes.

Prop 3 - Provides $980 million in general-obligation bonds to upgrade children's hospitals.

More bonds? Aren't we like billions of dollars short on the budget every year? Sorry, kids. Wear a helmet, don't eat Pizza Rolls every day after school, and don't antagonize mean kids and you'll be fine.

Prop 4 - Requires parental notification at least 48 hours before a minor can obtain an abortion.

Are you fucking kidding me? When I was a kid, I wouldn't tell my Dad if I went to an R-rated movie. You're gonna force girls to get their parents' permission to have a fucking abortion? It's hard enough in the first place. Fuck no.

Prop 5 - Expands drug treatment programs for criminal offenders.

Yes. Duh. If I have to explain why, you're too dumb to vote anyway.

Prop 6 - Increases sentences on gang, drug and gun crimes - and overall commits the state to nearly $1 billion in annual spending.

Oh great! More spending! Christ, can't we just stop spending fucking money for a minute? No. P.S. I know this position might be incompatible with expanding drug treatment immediately above, but fuck it.

Prop 7 - Calls for the state to obtain half its energy from renewable sources by 2025.

I love this one because everyone's against it. Like everyone. If the Sierra Club AND the California Chamber of Commerce are both against it, it must really suck. So no.

Prop 8 - Deprives same-sex couples of the right to marry.

Hmmm, I feel like I've heard something about this somewhere. I have yet to hear anyone make a cogent argument about why gays shouldn't be allowed to marry other than "that's the way it's always been." So the fuck what? Letting a couple of people who love each other get married doesn't affect you at all, so why do you give a fuck?

Christ, there are still more? I'll get to those later.

Happy Friday, everyone! I'm off to Portland tomorrow. Will report back next week on rain, availability of crank, ghost of Elliott Smith, etc.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Dirty jobs

Work to live, or live to work?

I was talking with The Sister yesterday over email about my philosophy of work. I think we’re brought up in this country to believe that your job is your life, and you should love going to work and get personal satisfaction out of your work and generally just love your job.

Now, if that’s you, fantastic. Good for you. But I also think it’s this kind of thinking that leads to people being workaholics and checking in with their office every day while they’re on vacation and missing their kids’ soccer games so they can stay late at work. And that kinda sucks.

I have a job that I like just fine and I’m good at. I wouldn’t say that I love coming to work, and I don’t feel like my job comes anywhere close to defining my life. I have tons of interests outside of work that my job leaves me the freedom to pursue. I feel kind of lucky that way. I know I’m never going to get rich (from working, anyway), and that’s fine with me. There’s plenty more to life than being rich.

Here’s one thing I wrote to The Sister yesterday:

> We've all been sold a bill of goods by these people who say "do
> what you love, and the money will follow." Total bullshit. Do
> what you love and you'll be on the streets in a couple of weeks,
> unless "what you love" is data entry or waitressing. Just pick the
> least- offensive career you can find, do as good a job at it as you
> can, and try to have some fun along the way.

Re-reading that now, it seems a little harsh, but I guess I basically agree with the main sentiment. Try and find the best job you can, don’t let it take over to the exclusion of other, more important things in life, and try to enjoy it the best you can.

Of course, since Depression II is starting, pretty soon we’ll all have jobs like Rag & Bone Man or Associate Stander in Soup Line.

So am I way off here? Do you have to LOVE YOUR JOB to have a good life?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Literature and drinking, together at last

Today's a holiday! It's...uhhhh...Columbus Day, right. What, you don't have it off? You should get a different job then.

Litquake closed Saturday night with Litcrawl, which is more or less a series of readings in different bars in the Mission. I went to Elixir on Guerrero at 6:00 to hear our friend Jason and some others. It was fucking packed, but you know what was nice? The crowd was totally quiet during the readings and you could hear every word.

So after that we walked down to Amnesia on Valencia for a reading called "Writers Take the Mic: Authors Explore Music and the Written Word." Basically, it was a few musicians reading some of their stuff and a few music writers doing the same. It was all pretty good, but Blag Dahlia of The Dwarves was a standout, reading some memoirish-type material about his youth and the early days of the band that would go on to become the Dwarves.

Amnesia was fucking packed, too. In fact, the whole Mission seemed crowded. On the one hand, I don't really like crowds so much, but on the other hand, you've gotta love seeing tons of people come out for a literary reading series.

OK, back to my holiday. Apparently this guy on Maury is NOT THE FATHER. He seems pleased.

One small note about the Vandy game - I get that Bobby Johnson's a great coach and everything, but why stick with Chris Nickson when he's obviously struggling and Adams did such a good job the week before? Doesn't make sense.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I have discovered the greatest snack of all time

Pita bread, colby/jack shredded cheese mix, pancetta, under the broiler for about a minute and a half.

Oh God it's good.

I haven't hit bottom yet

- I'm currently listening to the Vanderbilt-Mississippi State game on streaming Internet radio. Maybe I have a problem.

Chris Nickson is starting? WTFF?

UPDATE: Now watching streaming VIDEO on ESPN 360. God, I love the fucking Internet. Now, if Vandy could just get a first down, we'd be all set.

- "Recent rallies starring McCain and his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, have aired openly hostile and anti-Obama rhetoric - even cries of 'terrorist,' 'liar,' 'off with his head' and 'kill them,' which have gone unchallenged from the stage." Klassy.

- The Sister, as it turns out, is a surprisingly good blackjack player, even if she has no idea what doubling down or splitting is. She's just got good instincts, I guess. She will learn, in time.

- Dodgers down 2 games to none? Yes, please!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Today's Top 5

1. Who are the undecided voters?

Paste eaters, nitwits, tiger petters, people who lose arguments to babies.

2. Mad Men

Season 2 is even better. Amazing, but true.

3. I'm going to Portland next weekend

For a wedding. If not for the skinheads, the crank, and the soul-crushing constant rain, Portland would be a pretty great place to live.

4. Hey, at least I'm not retiring for another 25 years.

Maybe by then my IRA will be back to where it was this time last year.

5. Vanderbilt football

When are you going to get sick of me talking about this? If they win tomorrow, prepare to become very, very sick indeed.

Happy Friday, everyone! Whatever you do, don't forget the Lit Crawl tomorrow. Basically, everywhere you go in the Mission there'll be writers drinking and reading their stuff. Writers drinking! What a shock!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Tamales, Vanderbilt, etc.

- Last evening, about 6:30 p.m., backyard of Zeitgeist, with a cold Steelhead Extra Pale and a pork tamale from the Tamale Lady. One of those moments when life is just fine.

It was Super Hot Irish Girlfriend's first Tamale Lady tamale! Can you believe that? She loved it, natch. Incidentally, pay no attention to the haterz on Yelp who diss her tamales. Look, the lady cooks them in her kitchen and brings them to you at Zeitgeist. They have rice and pork or whatever in them. They are delicious.

- Let us now praise the Vanderbilt Commodores, who are 5-0, ranked 13th in the country, and are having their best start since 1943. 1943!!! Hard to find anyone who even remembers them playing at the foot-ball back then. It's hard to explain the significance of this to someone who didn't grow up with this team like I did, but let me try. It's like France invading Germany, and winning. Anyway, barring some exceptional collapse, this is the year they finally make it back to a bowl game. That being said, if anyone's capable of an exceptional collapse, it's Vandy.

- I'm just going to come out and say it. That debate last night was bor-ing. BTW, Paddy Power now has Obama at 2-11 to win and McCain at 7-2. That's a better indicator than most polls you can look at.

- I'm kinda bummed I missed the District 9 Supervisor debate, which sounded infinitely more interesting and fun. For a truly laugh-out-loud rundown of the proceedings, please refer to Will Harper's piece in SF Weekly. Hilarious.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Litquake Afterparty, or how I lost the chance to be Amber Tamblyn's bff.

by guest blogger Super Hot Irish Girlfriend

As mentioned in the bf's post, due to his l33t 5killz we were awarded two VIP tix to Litquake and the reception afterwards. He ran down the actual event pretty accurately, so on to the party!! Being an unabashed semi-celebrity whore, I was tres excited for the chance to mingle with the literati, and especially Amber Tamblyn, as she seems like the kind of girl who could get me in touch with John Cusack, thereby kicking off our love story for the ages.

Now, I don't know whether it was a long week at work, the torturous trip home that night (including Muni breakdowns and me getting on a BART train to Oakland instead of 24th Street for some reason), the rain, the dissatisfaction with my outfit, or a combination of all of the above, but by the time we reached the Herbst theatre I was in no mood to be sociable.

As a result, I very dispassionately observed everything from a corner of the balcony thinking the following random stream-of-consciousness thoughts:

"Oh, look! There's Adam Savage and his lovely wife Julia; fellow 30 Rock fans."

"Wow! Amber Tamblyn is surprisingly normal-person sized. I mean, maybe we really could share some traveling pants. That jacket looks great on her. Her arms look good and toned. I should work out more."

"Is that ranch dressing in a little cup on the food table? Ew. Oh, no, what's that, server- lady? It's apparently a milkshake?"

"My milkshake brings all the bo.....DAMN"

"Why does that photographer keep snapping everyone but us? There's only about 12 people out here so far and she has 75 shots of those girls already."

"Oh, thanks photog. I don't need your pity pics because you overheard us discussing*BIG GRIN**CLICK*you snub us."

"I'm not even feeling drunk. I should have some more free wine. Nope! Still nothing"

"Boy, Jonathan Ames appears very wasted. He should sit down somewhere"

"Oh, there's Cintra Wilson standing right next to me. I should tell her good job. Ooh, a cheese plate! Let's just do this instead"

"Who's Amber Tamblyn on the phone to? Hmm. I thought she'd have an iPhone. Curious. Perhaps it's her bf David Cross? Tell him I said hey, girl!"

"Why is Amber Tamblyn staring at my bf? Oh no, wait. She's actually staring at my purse. I know! It's cute, right?!"

"That trip to Ireland where I got my purse was fun"

"Why are we talking to Cintra Wilson's man-friend about cheese?"

"You know, Cintra Wilson's man-friend really looks like Leonard Maltin"

"Beth Lisick's super nice. I should go to Porchlight some time. Maybe I can tell a story about how I blew my chance to charm Amber Tamblyn"

"Yikes, Jonathan Ames is looking really green right now. We should leave before he barfs"

And so we did.

But Amber, if you're out there, I share your dislike of the Vagina Monologues and Sarah Palin and if that's not the basis for a lasting friendship, what is? Call me!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Litquake opening night - tell me something

Thanks to my l33t writing 5k1llz, I won tickets to the Litquake opening night event in this contest on SFist. So Super Hot Irish Girlfriend and I headed down to the Herbst Theater on Friday night to check it out.

The event was part of the Porchlight storytelling series and was called "Suckered: Writers Confess a Profound Lack of Judgment." The idea is that these (mostly pretty well-known) writers would get 10 minutes to tell a story on that theme.

Neal Pollack was first, and talked about his experience with a Spanish language school in Guatemala. He didn't time it out so well and so didn't really get to the good part - at least I think - before his time ran out.

Cintra Wilson told a story about how when she was young she wrote porn scripts for 976 numbers and got kicked out of her apartment when one of her roommates' boyfriends ran up a huge bill calling her number. Very funny.

April Sinclair was next. I think she was prettty much the hit of the whole thing with her hilarious story about seeing Whoopi Goldberg at a small place in SF when she was first starting out and declining Whoopi's offer to go out for drinks after the show because her roommate - "a snippy gay guy, I don't mean anything by that, I'm just keepin' it real" - had to get back to Oakland. "Nobody has to get back to Oakland." She killed.

Robert Mailer Anderson closed out the first half. I realize that he's a major contributor to Litquake and he can take as much time as he wants, but his story about taking some juvenile delinquents from the group home his dad managed to the movies really did seem to drag on a bit.

After a break, political comedian Will Durst opened the second half with a short story about seeing some of Clinton's impeachment trial in the Senate chamber and getting in trouble for making noise.

Adam Savage, the co-host of Mythbusters, talked about going, at a then-girlfriend's behest, to some est-type self-improvement courses.

Actress and writer Amber Tamblyn was next. She recounted going to the Vagina Monologues national convention thing in New Orleans and being sorta horrified by the whole thing. She was very engaging and funny.

The last storyteller was Jonathan Ames, who I gather is sort of legendary in storytelling circles and appears on Letterman a lot and whatever. By his own admission, he was pretty drunk. He told a kind of excruciatingly awkward story about his sexual development that included a near-molestation by a camp counselor and the extraordinarily late onset of puberty. The crowd seemed to love him, and if he had kept it to about 10 minutes I would have been right there.

So then we go to the afterparty upstairs at the theater since we have VIP tickets and it's an open bar and all the authors are there and everything. We talked to Adam Savage, who's actually a friend of a friend, for a while, then sort of mingled and circulated. I tried mostly to stay within Amber Tamblyn's field of vision. Kidding. Although we were about 10 feet apart, she somehow failed to notice me, though.

Amber Tamblyn - apparently not in the market for me

Beth Lisick, who is one of the organizers of Porchlight and a really great writer in her own right, was super nice and friendly.

So the whole thing was pretty much a fucking blast. Make sure and check out some of the other Litquake events this week. Next Saturday is the semi-legendary Litquake pub crawl in the Mission. Should be fun.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Oh well, whatever, nevermind

Sorry about that last post. I don't know what got into me.

American writers aren't good enough to win the Nobel prize for literature? Fuck you.

Dodgers go up 2-0 on Cubbies? Fuck you, Dodgers.

Rabid bats on the loose in SF? Fuck you, bats.

There. That feels better.

Happy Friday, everyone! What we got this weekend? Well, of course, aside from the most important sporting event in the history of the world or maybe the known universe, there's also the kickoff of Litquake and we may try to make it to Debaser at the Knockout Saturday night. Whew. I'm tired already.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Dolores Park, last night, 6:40 pm

The Mission was buzzing last night when I went out for a walk. It was oddly muggy out but still nice. The wind was just starting to pick up. For a variety of reasons, I was feeling a little out of sorts yesterday and thought a walk might help. Here are the things I saw.

The usual crowd outside Delfina, waiting for a table.

Kids skateboarding on Valencia. They passed me right as I passed Dosa. They had the windows open there and it smelled heavenly.

Thought about stopping at Aquarius but it's too frustrating to stop there when you don't have any money on you.

Girl sitting on a fire hydrant smoking, 24th and Valencia, waiting for the 48, it looked like.

Usual crowd of old guys in front of Muddy's.

Came home, opened an Asahi, felt better.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bail this out

Listen, I'm no economist. I've never balanced a checkbook and in college I had to take something called "Finite Math" with about 30 football players because I couldn't understand calculus. So I'm really not the go-to guy on understanding this whole $700 billion Wall Street bailout thing. Nevertheless, in the true spirit of bloggers everywhere, I will now incorrectly explain something I know nothing about.

Here's how I understand it: Uncle Sugar borrows $700 billion from, you know, us, because we're the people who pay all of Uncle Sugar's bills, except for I guess a few bucks he makes on import tariffs or whatever. OK, then he gives that $700 billion to Big Mouth Bank, so BMB can turn around and loan us!!!!!

W. T. F.

Loan sharks would fucking KILL for a deal like this. Even though they charge 30% interest a week and break your fingers if you don't pay, at least they loan you someone else's money.

Now, a couple of days ago I didn't really have an opinion one way or another because (1) like I said, math is hard, and (2) this is the kind of thing that usually makes me glaze over. I think I told someone that if they need to do the bailout thing to prevent another depression, then I'm for it. WOW, I STIRRED UP A HORNET'S NEST WITH THAT EDGY POSITION.

Then, what, two days ago, it was looking like a lot of people were flooding their Congresspersons' office with opposition, and then BMB said, "I'm tellin' ya, ya better pass this," and then they didn't pass it and "See what we told you? The Dow dropped like 700 points! We are all truly fucked now!"

So then the next day - today - it comes back by like 500 points and who really knows WTF is up. But you know what? If a bunch of Republicans and Dennis motherfucking Kucinich are ALL against this thing, then fuck it, it's probably a bad idea. I'm trying to think of something else that Republicans and Kucinich would both be against. Boiling and eating adorable puppies? Injecting Pine Sol directly into your eyes? I'm going to come out strongly against those things too.

Eventually, of course, they're going to pass some version of this, and BMB is gonna get its money, and things are probably going to go to shit anyway, but we'll always have this day that Santa Claus and Heat Miser agreed on something.