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 it.....to 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.

Monday, September 29, 2008

My very quiet and completely innocent weekend

Super Hot Irish Girlfriend was out of town this weekend. Naturally, that means I spent the weekend volunteering at the food bank, rescuing kittens from trees, and reading quietly at home.

In between my Bible-camp-pure activities, I found time to watch some of the Giants' last game of the year. It's always a little sad to see the Giants pack up for another year. Personally, I think there's a lot to look forward to next year. Seems like there are a lot of potentially good youngsters who'll get a shot to make the team. I'm more optimistic for next season than I was at this time last year, anyway.

Believe it or not, I'm leaving work early today to clean the house. I think it's safe to say that SHIG and I harbor very different conceptions of what constitutes acceptable levels of cleanliness.

Fig. 1. View of kitchen (pre-cleaned).

Seriously, I do a good job keeping the kitchen cleaned and everything, but I honestly can't see some of the stuff she sees. Anyway, I'll just do what I can and hope for the best. I have to find the vacuum, too.

Friday, September 26, 2008

You know what sucks?

Being in the supermarket checkout line right in front of Yoga Pants girl who's unloading a basket full of organic kale and Nature Valley Cruelty Free Oatmeal and shit like that and she's staring at my stuff right in front of hers. LOOK LADY I KNOW I'M BUYING VODKA AND A SIX-PACK AND SOME AMERICAN CHEESE BUT IT'S FRIDAY AND DON'T YOU JUDGE ME.

Twins win World Series!

Friends of 40 going on 28 helpfully pushed the following content to us earlier today:

(CNN) – The time between the final answer in any presidential debate and the campaign press release declaring victory can usually best be measured in milliseconds. But John McCain’s campaign – which has been downplaying his performance at Friday’s faceoff, offering praise for opponent Barack Obama’s “eloquence” and debating skill – seems to have decided it’s never too soon to start spinning the outcome.

The Washington Post reported Friday that the campaign was running an online ad featuring the headline: "McCain Wins Debate!" and a photo of a smiling McCain and an American flag background. Another featured a quote from McCain campaign manager Rick Davis: "McCain won the debate — hands down."

The Obama campaign quickly circulated the report – which came moments before McCain’s team confirmed he would take part in the evening debate after all.


Look, any way you cut it, McCain is getting some bad advice from someone. The whole debate-is-off, debate-is-on thing just makes him look silly and indecisive. Did anyone actually believe that his presence in DC was the magic elixir that would fix Depression II? Bitch please.

One thing's for sure. We won't learn anything about either candidate that we don't already know. McCain will reference his POW story at least once. And Obama will answer at least one question with a long rambling monologue that doesn't really say anything. Wait, that's three things.

Happy Friday, everyone! Bud Light Limes on me!

And now, a word from the indispensible LOLcat Bible. Genesis 1, verses 3-5:

At start, no has lyte. An Ceiling Cat sayz, i can haz lite? An lite wuz.4 An Ceiling Cat sawed teh lite, to seez stuffs, An splitted teh lite from dark but taht wuz ok cuz kittehs can see in teh dark An not tripz over nethin.5 An Ceiling Cat sayed light Day An dark no Day. It were FURST!!!1

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

No debate? There goes my Friday!

- Yes, it seems that I have achieved a certain level of blogging fame. That level where you're asked to review a product or service. I guess it's a sign that I've finally made it. Why, just a few days ago I received an email asking me if I'd be interested in reviewing...what's that? A BOOK ABOUT URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS?!?? OH MY GOD. Um, no.

- So McCain's calling off the debate on Friday so he can zoom back to Washington and save us all? REALLY. Maybe the time to act was a few years ago when he failed to vote on deregulating the banking industry.

Any way you cut it, this is a smart play for McCain. Right now, Obama seems to be pulling ahead in the polls, and everyone knows McCain is more comfortable in the town hall setting than the structured debate setting. This way, he gets to look good by appearing to care more about Depression II than some stupid political race. Either way, too, Obama looks bad. If he says, "Oh yay, let's fix ur economeez," then he's just a big copycat, and if he says, "NO, let's debate, stupid!," he looks like he doesn't care. Smart move on McCain's part.

- Note from reader yesterday (and you know who you are): "no updates for two days, full of fail." OH GREAT. Just what I needed, ANOTHER JOB. Look, sometimes there won't be updates every other day. I've had a cold, nothing interesting happened, etc., etc.

- Yesterday on the train on the way home, I encountered Daisy and Nick from The Great Gatsby, I think. This couple gets on wearing tennis clothing - and I mean, like tennis clothing, like the ur-tennis gear, with the white skirt and the striped sweater and everything - and carrying rackets. Then the guy pulls out a little silver flask and they both hit off that. This is a little after 5 pm, so that's cool. Daisy pulls out a cigarette and is holding it as they get off the train, right by the Dolores Park tennis courts, and disappear back into whatever alternate reality they stepped out of.

- And finally, today's Sign of the Apocalypse: Vanderbilt is ranked for the first time in 24 years. This guy thinks they can finish 9-3 or 8-4. Yes, that could happen. Now, where my Rapture at?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Treasure Island Sunday. Full of win.

If there was a better place to be yesterday than the Treasure Island Festival, I'm not sure where it was.

The weather was just about perfect, it wasn't too crowded, there were short or no lines for almost everything, and the sound was fantastic. You couldn't ask for a better outdoor music festival.

That's Will Sheff from Okkervil River doing his thing. As you can see, we were pretty close to the stage. Super Hot Irish Girlfriend took this shot. I'm a big Okkervil River fan and one of the best live shows I saw last year was their set at the Independent. Their set yesterday didn't do as much for me, but SHIG disagreed and thought it was fantastic. Maybe the new songs just haven't grown on me yet.

I'm not sure who the brooding guy in the background is.

Personally, I thought that Spiritualized had the best set of the day, which may seem a bit odd, because when you think Spiritualized you think heroin and dark motel rooms, not bright sunshiney weather and plastic cups of Heineken. Still, for whatever reason, their set was killer.

I was excited to see Vampire Weekend, and they were pretty good.

I mean, they played all their songs well, but maybe didn't seem that excited or something. I don't know. They were good, but not great. Hey, who's complaining? Oh, right, me.

There was the usual outdoor festival kind of food and drink. Beers were $7, which is less than at a Giants game, so fine by me. There were also smallish cups of some indeterminate white wine for the same price. At one point, some guy walked by us and knocked over SHIG's wine and kept on walking, no apology or anything. "I wish you could buy douchebag insurance," Tom said. We all thought that would be a fine idea. Then, you'd be reimbursed any time a douchebag messed up your day.

That was a very minor glitch in an otherwise ideal day. I probably had one or two too many $7 Heinekens, and my face got totally sunburned and now I look like a bloated badger, but I can't wait to go again next year. As SHIG would say, "A++++++++ WILL DO BUSINESS AGAIN."

Friday, September 19, 2008

The funniest thing I've seen so far today

A total Girls Gone Wild-type blonde chick sitting in Civic Center plaza reading a book (!) with her face all scrunched up and HER LIPS ARE MOVING AS SHE READS.

I guess I do need Twitter for shit like this, huh?

Dad, where did you put the crank?

- You wanna see a cool blog? Of course you do. Only in San Francisco.

- As far as I can tell, no one was murdered in the Mission last night. AWESOME. Looks like the murderin' went down in the traditionally murder-happy Tenderloin instead.

- So what if I check out Cheerleader of the Week? Is that so wrong?

- From the Sports Desk, we've got Vanderbilt going for 4 wins on Saturday, Lincecum lost the Cy Young last night, Chelsea - Man U on Sunday, and an early-season already must-win game for the surprising 49ers. WHEW.

- Your father's Ryan O'Neal. Your mom is motherfucking FARRAH FAWCETT. You are destined to be one of the BEST-LOOKING PEOPLE IN THE WORLD, right?


Talk about losing the genetic lottery. Also, I thought doing meth with your Dad was pretty much restricted to the tralier-park-in-Bullhead-City-Arizona-type crowd. Guess not.

- Happy Friday, everyone! Have a good weekend. I'll report back from the Treasure Island Festival on Monday.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Why California government is like 5th grade

Every year, the ugly spectacle that is the California budget process grows more and more ridiculous. The usual strategy is to cobble together some kind of ridiculous farce that puts off any hard decisions for another year, do it a couple of months late, and then pass it on to a governor who signs it with an air of resignation.

Meanwhile, everyone knows it's a farce and a sham and we all pretend everything's OK and go whistling away to buy new Caltrans trucks and maybe build another 3 or 4 prisons. It's the equivalent of realizing that you can't pay your Chase Visa bill and going and getting a Capital One Visa with a Hello Kitty design and a 1% cashback program and using that to pay your Chase bill and then smiling and going "See? Fixed it!"

Except this year, it's EVEN MORE FIFTH GRADE THAN EVER.

Here's how it's going down:

1. Nobody did anything for 2 months after the budget was due.

2. Somebody said, "Hey, wait, we gotta have a budget! Let's get to work!"

3. This past Sunday, the legislators in charge slap together their normal Ridiculous Farce Budget that puts off all the problems for another year. YAY! PROBLEM SOLVED! NOW WE CAN GO BACK TO MAKING LAWS ABOUT SMOKING IN PUBLIC! YAY!

4. But mean old Herr Schwarzenegger says "NEIN! VILL NOT SIGN BAD BUDGET!"

5. Oh crap. But hey! It's OK! We have enough votes to override you! So there! WE WIN WE WIN WE WIN!

6. Herr S.: Not so fast! If you override mein veto, I vill veto all your other bills! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

Seriously, I sympathize with Herr S., but how fucking fifth grade can you get? That's not statesmanship, that's playing keep-away with $107 billion dollars.

Here's where it really gets good. The legislators and Herr S. sit down this afternoon to figure out how how to get their gym clothes back or something. But Herr S. leaves the meeting early!!! Why?!? Why would he do such a thing? Probably to personally perform surgery on a puppy that's dying, right?

Wrong. He went to Fresno TO SPEAK AT A BUDGET RALLY.

OK, this is going to be hard to type because I just tore my eyes out and I can't see the keyboard, but let me get this straight. THE GOVERNOR LEFT A BUDGET MEETING TO GO SPEAK AT A RALLY ABOUT THE NEED TO GET A BUDGET.

Fuck, dude.

In a related story, get ready for Great Depression II! I'm gonna be a gangster! What are you gonna be?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

Learn not to burn

Collected by Valleywag at 18th & Mission:

I have to admit, I LOL'd. A few years ago, there was a similar tag I saw in the Panhandle, with the Man logo and "Welcome Home" on the top and underneath, in much smaller type, "LAME-O."

Ahh, Burning Man, the annual ritual in the Nevada desert that divides us all into two groups: those who go to Burning Man and those who love to talk about how retarded it is. Can there be no detente?

True confession: I went, a few years ago. If you haven't been, it's pretty much exactly what you think. It's very dusty and there are a lot of people on drugs and people act weird and introduce themselves by "Woodchuck" or "Spacegirl" and there is very loud techno music all the time, 24 hours a day, everywhere.

But you know what? Once you get past the inherent goofiness and just resign yourself to it, it's not bad at all. There's some cool art to see, and people from all over the place, and everyone's into just hanging out, and there are none of the Mission vs. Marina social barriers we have to deal with back here because everyone's pretty much dressed the same, which is in neon fake fur and goggles, and it's not immediately apparent whether the person you're talking to would be someone you'd talk to back in the real world or not.

That being the case, once was enough, for me, anyway. I'm not into deprivation.

I realize I'm like 2 weeks late with this post, but the sidewalk graffiti just got me thinking about it.

David Foster Wallace, 1962-2008

I was kind of stunned to learn yesterday that David Foster Wallace committed suicide over the weekend. I guess it was especially surprising because he wrote with so much humor and wit that you just wouldn't expect him to do this. When Elliott Smith killed himself, I was saddened but not really that surprised; he'd been singing about suicide, sometimes literally, for years. But Wallace just never seemed like the type.

Anyway, I kind of grew to love Wallace's particular style, with the ten-dollar words, the endless and lengthy footnotes, and the wry humor. He had a keen eye and ear and a powerful descriptive voice. He'll be missed.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Thanks, Apollo, for the great weather!

- Walking on Mission Street last night, near 29th, I passed one of the mostly-Latino bar/restaurant type places that had the windows boarded up, for some reason, and a shifty-looking guy guarding the door, which was closed tight. Just as I passed, there was a huge roar, like there was a big cheering crowd inside. WTF was going on in there? Fight club? Or just the Mexico-Canada World Cup qualifier? Or something else entirely?

- There were three quarterbacks drafted in the 2006 NFL draft. The highest-drafted was Vince Young, from Texas, who now is suffering some kind of emotional meltdown because Tennessee fans dared to boo him for shitty play and who now has resorted to having his mother tell the press that he's "hurting inside and out". I imagine the same goes for Titans fans.

The second was Matt Leinart, of USC, who is backing up the aging Kurt Warner at Arizona.

The third was Jay Cutler, from VANDERBILT, who isn't doing anything but carving up defenses with his rocket arm. SUCK IT, TEXAS AND USC.

- Debra Saunders in today's Chron, rebutting rumors about the slightly terrifying Sarah Palin:

In a 2006 gubernatorial debate, Palin said she believed in a "healthy debate" in public schools between creationism and evolution - and that reasonable view has been contorted into Palin wanting to force her creationist views down others' throats. Actually, it is the side that wants no debate that is intolerant.

Oh, Debra, you nut. A "healthy debate" between creationism and evolution is "reasonable"? How about a "healthy debate" in medical school about whether meningitis is caused by a virus or by demons? Maybe we'll teach kids that it's possible that thunderstorms are caused by Zeus's wrath. No good? Why so "intolerant"?

- You gotta get into Sons of Anarchy on F/X. It's like the Sopranos took over a California motorcycle gang. Great acting, good scripts, lots of swears. The only beef I have is that the sound mix seems a little off and it's hard to pick up all the dialogue sometimes, but I realize that's an ultra-picky thing to bitch about. Check it out.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Yes, one of these is actually real

Wow! Doesn't take much to get into Hell any more these days!
Our God is an angry God! Plus, RED ZONE FINES DOUBLED!

Oh noes! Just tell them you meant to order "Free Willy 2" and you hit the wrong button and then you covered up the TV with a blanket.

Oh, you know what? Good. Hell is too good for you.

Make your own at Church Sign Generator!

P.S. There's a church not far from my Dad's house (well, since he's in the South, there are like 35 churches not far from his house) that often has great signs. My fave was one, during a particularly hot part of the summer, that said, "THINK IT'S HOT? TRY HELL." Direct and to the point. Nicely done.

Monday, September 8, 2008

At least he'll have a cool scar

In Ancient Rome, oracles would attempt to divine the future by cutting open a pig and "reading" its entrails; that is, by looking for signs or meaning in the steaming intestines. Since I have a severe shortage of livestock, but still need some guidance about the future, I decided to use my iPod instead. We will select "Shuffle" and the first song that comes up will be today's message.

OK, here goes. First song: "It's a Motherfucker" by Eels. Sigh.

On the way to work today, I was approached by a guy who looked a little like a young John Cusack and was wearing a Comcast hat. He explained to me that he worked for Comcast and he had become stuck in the city and needed to get to Rohnert Park and, you know, could I help him out? I was like, "Dude, why don't you ask Comcast for the money?" There's always an angle, right?

I happened to be at the Giants game yesterday and therefore personally witnessed the biggest offensive explosion since they moved to China Basin. By now, of course, you've heard about the 10-run inning, which was pretty fucking awesome. And Nate McClouth getting hit in the face with a ball, which was not.

Anyway, nice day out at the park. Unless you're Nate McClouth.

Oh, they were giving away these lunchboxes with Looney Tunes characters dressed up as Giants, but you had to have a kid to get one. Super Hot Irish Girlfriend badly wanted one and was eyeing all the kids around us, hoping someone would leave one behind. Eventually she was standing next to some guy looking at his kid's lunchbox plaintively and the kid didn't want it and so the Dad looked at SHIG and I guess could see the desperation in her eyes and gave it to her. It instantly became one of her favorite things ever.

You can get one, too. There's one on eBay right now for $29.95. I hope that kid didn't mind giving it up.

Saturday night was dinner for The Sister's boyfriend at Chaya on the Embarcadero. The food was nothing to write home about - not mine, anyway - but the service was great. The Sister's boyfriend brought wine for us and they didn't charge corkage, I guess because we had a big group and dropped a lot of money anyway. Still, that sure was nice of them.

Super Hot Irish Girlfriend and some of the rest of the group continued on to Debaser at the Knockout, but I just couldn't take it. I just went home. Maybe I'm finally getting old. Or something.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

"No, it says 'Barista'!"

Yeah, angry speech by Palin, blah blah blah whatever. Let's get to the important shit: LEVI JOHNSTON HAS THE NAME "BRISTOL" TATTOOED ON HIS FINGER.

Now, I'm not making any judgments about Levi or Bristol or their soon-to-be-undoubtedly-oddly-named prodigy, but FOR THE LOVE OF CHRIST, MAN, don't EVER get a chick's name tattooed on you, ANYWHERE.

Dude, you are 17 YEARS OLD and you're already cougar bait. You're going to have more opportunities with chicks than Motley Crue with a GHB dispenser. I'm sure you think Bristol is the love of your life and you'll always be together to raise little Jumpsuit or whatever, but, trust me, in a couple of years you're going to be rubbing coconut oil on triplets at Hedonism II and wondering who this guy "Bristol" is who keeps calling you.

That's why you don't get chicks' names tattooed on you. Just ask Johnny Depp.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

At least I don't smoke pot and watch Adult Swim

Hoo boy. This article from Newsweek is setting off all kinds of triggers for me.

Once the preserve of whacked-out teens and college slackers, this testosterone-filled landscape is the new normal for American males until what used to be considered creeping middle age, according to the sociologist Michael Kimmel. In his new book, "Guyland," the State University of New York at Stony Brook professor notes that the traditional markers of manhood—leaving home, getting an education, finding a partner, starting work and becoming a father—have moved downfield as the passage from adolescence to adulthood has evolved from "a transitional moment to a whole new stage of life." In 1960, almost 70 percent of men had reached these milestones by the age of 30. Today, less than a third of males that age can say the same.

I guess I'm pretty much the poster boy for this phenomenon, as evidenced by the name of this blog. Here I am at 40, and like I like to say, I'm living exactly like I did when I was 28, except with better restaurants. What happened here?

A couple of things, I guess. In my actual 20's, I was working and then going back to school and generally not really concerned with growing up at all. None of my friends were grownups, so why should I be? I got married but we weren't in any rush to have kids.

Then in my 30's we moved out of the city (big mistake - I'll write another post someday about why Santa Cruz might be the worst place on Earth) and it seemed like it was time to settle down. My new friends in my new town started having kids. (Incidentally, I'm kind of using having kids as the shorthand for actually growing up, since no one I know can afford to buy a house here, the other traditional marker).

But my then-wife and I still weren't ready, I guess, and good thing, too, because we moved back to the city a couple of years later and broke up. So then, all of a sudden, I was in my mid-30's and had no wife and no kids and no house. What was I supposed to do, join a monastery?

This trend - 30- and 40-somethings acting like 20-somethings - has been discussed before, most notably in this article a few years back.

When did it become normal for your average 35-year-old New Yorker to (a) walk around with an iPod plugged into his ears at all times, listening to the latest from Bloc Party; (b) regularly buy his clothes at Urban Outfitters; (c) take her toddler to a Mommy’s Happy Hour at a Brooklyn bar; (d) stay out till 4 A.M. because he just can’t miss the latest New Pornographers show, because who knows when Neko Case will decide to stop touring with them, and everyone knows she’s the heart of the band.

Ouch. You're saying that stuff like it's a bad thing. What, just because I'm 40 I can't listen to Bloc Party any more? Now I feel bad about wearing the blazer I bought at Urban Outfitters. Sigh.

Anyway, I realize that I'm sort of stream-of-consciousness rambling here, but I'm trying to figure out if I should feel bad about the way I am. Well, fuck that. This is where life has taken me. I'm now a 40-year-old man who plays in an indie rock band, lives in a rented house in San Francisco, listens to Vampire Weekend, regularly sends and receives text messages, and writes a blog. I'll grow up later.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

OK, who had Sarah Palin in the office pool?

Nobody did, that's who.

Somewhere, Mitt Romney is going, "Oh, fantastic. At least I could have promised that Tagg would never be pregnant."

I guess abstinence education, which Palin supports, doesn't really work. SHOCKER.

Anyway, I guess the idea is partly to pick up suburban women voters, including those who wanted Hillary and are still pissed that she lost. Understandable strategy, but I'm not 100% sure that it's going to work, especially when those women find out that Palin is staunchly pro-life and pro-everything-else-Republican.

Like all right-thinking people, I turn to Lohan for a refreshing, direct perspective on today's news. What's your take, Lindsay?

"I think the real problem comes from the fact that we are taking the focus off of getting to know Sarah Palin and her political views, and what she can do to make our country a less destructive place. Its distracting from the real issues, the real everyday problems that this country experiences."

"I get Sarah Palin's views against abortion, but I would much prefer to hear more about what she can do for our country rather than how her daughter is going to have a child no matter what. Maybe focus on delivering some words and policy with stronger impact like Joe Biden."

Well-put, Linds. Well-put.

What with the Labor Day weekend and all, Sunday night was actually an Administrative Saturday, so Super Hot Irish Girlfriend and I hied ourselves down to Beretta for dinner, after receiving a fairly glowing recommendation from Stephen & Jessica. We got there around 6 and were immediately seated, but the place filled up quickly after that and it looks like you'll be waiting a while if you get there at normal dinner time. They don't take reservations.

Started with cocktails. I had the Dolores Park Swizzle (rum, lime, maraschino, absinthe, bitters) and SHIG had an Airmail (rum, honey, lime, prosecco). I think I liked mine more. To eat, I got a pizza with Italian sausage, panna, and spring onions and SHIG had the saffron risotto with osso buco. Both were good.

I only have one little complaint, and it's pretty much the exact same complaint S&J had. The cocktails took forever to come, and we had barely started them before the food came. I think of cocktails as a pre-dinner thing, and I had already ordered a glass of wine to have with dinner, so the timing was a little off. Like I said, small complaint, but still.